The French ship Dixmude docked in Egypt as part of a French effort to treat children who have been wounded by the fighting between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu said on Tuesday.
The ship, which normally works as a helicopter transport, was transformed into a hospital to provide treatment for the children.
This also marked the first Western ship to be moored at al-Arish port, which has become a hub for international aid to Gaza around 50 kilometers west of Gaza, as countries, in particular the West, attempt to ramp up aid to support the Gazan civilian population which has been drastically affected by Israel's bombardment and offensive into the enclave.
The truce, which has now been extended for two days, also offers a further opportunity to provide aid to Gazans and create a process that would allow wounded Gazans to be evacuated.
"We have this ship, which has been transformed into a hospital and which arrived yesterday. It has 40 beds," Lecornu told Europe 1 radio, adding that he was hoping that the ship would be able to start receiving patients later this week.
The ship has two operating rooms and 40 beds along with 22 civilian doctors consisting of 16 surgeons and six pediatricians that would allow medical staff onboard to treat light injuries before they are transported to medical facilities on the ground. France has also made 50 beds available in French hospitals to treat severely wounded or sick children in Gaza.
Egypt has said that it can integrate the Gazan children into its medical facilities but that it would first require specialized equipment and financing from France.
Lecornu said seven French military officials were working with Egyptian and Israeli authorities over the necessary arrangements.
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