France says its floating hospital has set sail for Egypt to aid wounded Gazans

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

The Dixmude sets sail for Gaza on November 18, 2023. (Sébastien Lecornu/X)
The Dixmude sets sail for Gaza on November 18, 2023. (Sébastien Lecornu/X)

France Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu announces that a helicopter carrier dispatched by Paris set sail for Egypt earlier today to provide medical support for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

The ship will serve as a floating hospital complete with two operation rooms, 40 beds, an X-ray scanner and a lab and will largely be used to treat Palestinian children in need of emergency care, Lecornu says.

The helicopter carrier will allow medical workers to evacuate wounded Palestinians from the Gaza border and airlift them back onto the ship for treatment.

Israeli officials had said the ship was supposed to arrive last week, but they appeared to have jumped the gun.

The ship was ready to depart last week but was delayed since Israeli, Egyptian and French officials needed additional time to iron out logistical details regarding how the ship would function, a French diplomatic source tells The Times of Israel.

Israel is looking to promote alternative hospitals to the ones in Gaza for treating Palestinian patients, arguing that Hamas is operating within and underneath them.

While Israeli officials have previously proposed establishing floating hospitals off the coast of Gaza, the port has been too damaged from IDF bombing and is not deep enough to allow for large ships to dock there.

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