Home News Seriously ill children allowed to leave Gaza for first time since May

Seriously ill children allowed to leave Gaza for first time since May


Israel and Egypt agreed on Thursday to allow at least 19 sick children, most of them cancer patients, to leave Gaza for treatment, Israeli and Palestinian officials said, marking the first large-scale evacuation of the seriously ill from Gaza since the closure of the Rafah border crossing in early May.

The Israeli military said the operation was coordinated with the United States, Egypt and the international community. A total of 68 people, including the sick, the wounded and their caregivers, were allowed to leave, the military said.

The World Health Organization says there are more than 10,000 sick and wounded people in Gaza who need urgent care, but that care is only available outside the Strip. explain This week, hospitals are seeing hundreds of patients, ranging from those injured in airstrikes to cancer patients, children with life-threatening illnesses and elderly people needing open-heart surgery.

Even before the war, many Gazans were forced to travel abroad for life-saving treatments such as chemotherapy, which are almost non-existent in the Strip, where the health sector has struggled for more than 15 years under a tough blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt to curb Hamas.

But the main route for Gazans to leave – the Rafah crossing with Egypt – was closed after Israeli forces seized the border in a military offensive in May. Egypt closed its side of the crossing in protest, and the Gaza side of the crossing was later burned, according to the Israeli military, seemingly dashing hopes that it could be reopened soon.

At least two patients in Gaza who were due to leave in early May have died, their families said.

With the Rafah crossing closed, groups of children evacuated Thursday entered Israeli territory through another border crossing, Kerem Shalom, and were taken to Egypt. The move did not immediately appear to herald the opening of a new permanent route for critically ill patients to safely leave Gaza.

One of the children who successfully crossed the border Thursday was a 10-month-old girl named Sadeel Hamdan.

For months, Sadir’s condition has been deteriorating, and her family has been worried. Sadir’s father, Tamer Hamdan, said that due to severe liver failure, her belly was swollen like a balloon and she urgently needed an organ transplant.

Hamdan and Sadir were finally allowed to leave the enclave on Thursday morning after weeks of waiting. After entering Israel, they were taken with other patients to the Israeli village of Nizana and from there into Egyptian territory, he said.

“Thank God,” Mr Hamdan said by phone from a bus on the Egyptian side of the checkpoint. “We are happy that we have rescued Sadir safely. Now we just have to complete her treatment.”

However, their departure from Gaza was bittersweet.
Mr Hamdan travelled to Gaza with his daughter to be a partial liver donor, but his wife and three other children were not allowed to join them. He said he feared for their fate in Gaza.

“We are all heading into the unknown,” he said.

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