Wounded In Israeli Strikes, Gazans Find Care Away From Home In Egypt

On Wednesday the Egyptian health ministry announced the launch of an initiative aimed at providing medical care for 1,000 children wounded in Gaza.

Wounded In Israeli Strikes, Gazans Find Care Away From Home In Egypt

More than 15,000 have been killed in Gaza since fighting began on October 7. (File)

Cairo:

Ilham Majid was praying when bombs fell on her Gaza house, and her husband only found her hours later under the rubble, alive but seriously wounded.

She was one of the luckier ones -- 17 other family members, including two of her children, were killed in that fateful October 31 raid in the Jabalia refugee camp of northern Gaza, where Israel has been fighting Hamas operatives following deadly attacks earlier that month.

Now, like several other Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, Majid is receiving medical treatment in Egypt.

"All of a sudden I felt the house crumbling. Three stories collapsed on top of me," the 42-year-old recalled from her hospital bed at Cairo's Nasser Hospital.

"I got shrapnel all over my body. My liver was hit, my leg, ribs and my jaw are all broken. I cannot walk."

Majid said her husband found her trapped under the rubble of the house by chance four-and-a-half hours later, thanks to one of her fingers that was sticking out.

"I almost could not breathe -- almost dead," she said.

Her 15-year-old daughter was killed in the bombardment, and 10 days later the body of her 17-year-old son was pulled from under the debris. It was already rotting.

Ever since the tragedy that ripped apart her family -- 50 relatives were staying at the house when it was hit -- Majid has been looking at pictures of her son on her cell phone.

Since early October, several Palestinians wounded in Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip, and some suffering various illnesses, have been authorised to leave the besieged territory and travel to Egypt for medical care.

More than 15,500 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza since fighting began on October 7, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

Israel unleashed an air and ground campaign against the densely-populated territory with the aim of destroying Hamas, after the operatives broke through Gaza's militarised border into Israel.

The unprecedented attacks by the Palestinian group killed about 1,200 people, also mostly civilians, while around 240 others were taken hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

'Catastrophic' 

The war on Gaza has devastated swathes of the coastal territory, levelled entire neighbourhoods and destroyed much of the infrastructure, including hospitals.

Even before fighting resumed on Friday after a week-long pause during which operatives released hostages in exchange for prisoners held by Israel, Gaza's health system was on its knees with hospitals resembling a "horror movie", according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Now it is "catastrophic", the UN agency has said.

Currently, only 18 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are even minimally to partially functional, with the three main hospitals in the north barely operative, Richard Peeperkorn, WHO's representative in the Palestinian territories, told reporters in Geneva via video-link from Gaza on Friday.

The United Nations says not a single hospital in northern Gaza can carry out surgeries after several were attacked by Israel, while those in the south are overwhelmed by the number of casualties they receive daily.

At Cairo's Nasser Hospital, patients such as Majid are trying to slowly regain their strength far away from the violence and chaos consuming Gaza.

'Shock' 

Yussef, 13, lay in a bed staring into the distance, his face puffy.

Dried blood stained his right leg which was held together with metal rods.

"He was in a complete state of shock when I found him," said his older brother, under the rubble of their four-storey home in the Shati refugee camp.

In another hospital room further down the corridor, Lubna al-Shafei, 36, said she was being treated for a "neck wound".

"On October 23, our house in the centre of Gaza City was destroyed. My son was killed and my husband was wounded," she said.

On Wednesday the Egyptian health ministry announced the launch of an initiative aimed at providing medical care for 1,000 children wounded in Gaza.

Already 28 premature babies who were trapped at Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest which was besieged and ultimately raided by Israeli forces, have been taken to Egypt.

The United Arab Emirates and Tunisia have also taken in Palestinians wounded in Gaza, namely children in need of medical care.

France and Italy have sent ships to Egypt to serve as hospitals for wounded civilians from Gaza.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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