CAIRO: Palestinians wounded in the Israeli assault on Gaza were allowed entry into Egypt to seek treatment Sunday through the Salahuddin gate at the Rafah border crossing.
Sources in the area confirmed that 20 Egyptian ambulances had entered into Gaza through the gate to transport the wounded back into Egypt where they were sent to Al-Arish hospital.
At press time, only four Palestinians had been admitted into Egypt and were being treated for wounds in Al-Arish. They were in critical condition.
The wounded were being treated in Al-Arish hospital some 40 km from the border rather than in closer areas such as Rafah and Sheikh Zowayed because it was the most prepared North Sinai Tagammu party member Hussein El Qayem told Daily News Egypt.
Agencies reported that the Israeli offensive killed 80 people, many of them civilians, in Gaza on Saturday and Sunday.
Additionally, there were difficulties in transporting more wounded into Egypt because of the continued Israeli blitz, journalist and North Sinai Tagammu party member Mustapha Singer told Daily News Egypt, and thus many of the Egyptian ambulances sent remained in Gaza.
According to Singer, Hamas issued orders on Saturday night for the wounded to be moved near the Egyptian border but no crossing occurred at the time as Hamas officials negotiated with Egyptian authorities over Egypt accepting the wounded.
The four Palestinians who eventually entered were driven through over a four-hour time period starting from 9 am on Sunday, El Qayem said.
Emad Kharboush, a medical official at Al-Arish hospital told AP “We have mobilized all our efforts to receive and treat our Palestinian brothers in our hospitals.
Tensions persist on the Egyptian side of the border as Israeli attacks target the Palestinian side of Rafah, only meters away.
Strikes on the Palestinian side of Rafah on Saturday were felt across the border on the Egyptian side as residents stayed indoors, according to Singer.
There are also fears that the continued offensive and blockade of Gaza will lead to another breach in the border as Palestinians attempt to escape from the attacks by entering Egypt.
“If Israel continues the raid, there is a belief that Palestinians might breach the border again to enter Egypt, El Qayem said, an action which occurred last month following a blockade, without the added military offensive.
Singer stated that there were mutterings that, in case of a continued offensive, plans were afoot for a breach in the border by next Wednesday.
Meanwhile Gaza continues to be bombarded with civilians – including children – bearing the brunt of the Israeli offensive as Hamas and Fatah failed to reach any sort of agreement concerning their schism.
“Hamas and Fatah were exposed yesterday [Saturday] as groups fighting for power and not resisting occupation, El Qayem said.