RAFAH/CAIRO: For the second day running frustrated Egyptian doctors were denied entry into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, as Israel continued its shelling campaign near the border.
Egyptian doctors carrying their suitcases were prevented from entering Gaza to aid the territory’s understaffed hospitals, flooded with over 2,800 wounded during the Israeli assault on Gaza.
Dr Farid Ismail, a member in the Egyptian People’s Assembly health committee, told Daily News Egypt that many Egyptian doctors had offered to cross the border into the Palestinian territory to help the injured, but their proposals were rejected by the government.
“Many doctors have signed statements taking full responsibility for anything that happens to them in Gaza, asking the Ministry of Health to allow them to go to Gaza, yet the ministry refused, Ismail said.
“The government is saying Gaza is not safe, but since when was a war zone a safe place? Ismail asked, adding that all the doctors who volunteered to cross the borders to help the Palestinian doctors deal with the casualties are aware of the circumstances there.
“The Palestinian Minister of Health has urged the Egyptian Health Minister to send in specialists in neurosurgery and some other direly needed branches of medicine but the minister refused, he said.
Hamdy Al-Sayed, chairman of the Doctors’ Syndicate, told Daily News Egypt that doctors from the syndicate are there and ready to cross the borders into Gaza, but Egyptian security officials did not allow them.
According to Al-Sayed, Egyptian security officials are the only authority responsible for issuing permits to crossing the borders.
Around 600 doctors “are ready to go to Gaza and they have all signed statements saying that they take full responsibility, Al-Sayed confirmed.
Al-Sayed further stated that there are many highly qualified Egyptian doctors located in Al-Arish city “and are ready to go to Gaza anytime.
He said that Egypt has provided all the needed medical equipment and funds to the doctors in Al-Arish.
However he supports the Egyptian security officials’ decision to not allow Egyptian doctors to cross the borders, as he said that “it has been reported by the media that the Israeli troops are shooting doctors attempting to cross the Egyptian borders and the Egyptian security officials are worried about the lives of their doctors and they have all the right to protect them.
Meanwhile ambulances continued to stream in from the crossing Tuesday, carrying amongst others a nine-month-old girl with shrapnel in her stomach and a teenager on crutches with one leg amputated. They were all taken to Al-Arish for emergency treatment.
As of 1 pm Tuesday no ambulances had come in although Egyptian ambulances were waiting. Also no aid trucks had left the Egyptian side.
About 28 trucks were lined up outside the Rafah border crossing, two of them carrying powdered milk and baby formula.
This was due to the shelling taking place near the border all morning.
Bombing continued intensely near and around the border but lightened somewhat at noon, with the final salvo around 1 pm before the temporary ceasefire took effect.