The emergency room in Safed’s Ziv medical center was briefly evacuated Thursday after hospital staff, while undressing a wounded Syrian national brought in for treatment, discovered a hand grenade in one of his pockets.
Sappers were called in to remove and defuse the explosive device, a lethal fragmentation grenade. There was no suggestion the injured man aimed to use it against the hospital staff.
The man was one of two Syrians who were transferred to Israel for medical treatment on Thursday.
The two were brought in, both in critical condition. One had a chest wound and the other a stomach wound.
They were being treated in the hospital’s trauma center and were slated to undergo surgery later in the day.
On Wednesday, a Syrian man wounded in fighting near Israel’s border died en route to Ziv hospital after he was administered medical care by Israeli army personnel at the border. A second man was hospitalized in stable condition with shrapnel injuries.
According to figures released by the hospital, the two men admitted Thursday were the eighteenth and nineteenth Syrians to be treated at the medical center since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war two years ago.
Three other Syrians, including the patient admitted on Wednesday, remain hospitalized at Ziv, bringing the total number of Syrians currently there to five. Other injured Syrians have been hospitalized in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Monday confirmed for the first time that Israel is operating a field hospital on the Syrian border. He said the IDF was transferring severely wounded Syrian nationals to Israeli hospitals for treatment.
Initial reports of an IDF field hospital in the Golan Heights surfaced in February.
“Our policy is to help in humanitarian cases, and to that end we are operating a field hospital along the Syrian border,” Ya’alon told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “In cases where there are badly wounded, we transfer them to Israeli hospitals. We have no intention of opening refugee camps.”