Israeli forces launched an all-out war to eliminate Gaza’s ruling Palestinian group Hamas after its militants burst across the border into southern Israeli towns and bases on Oct 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages back to the enclave. More than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war.
Gazans have struggled to get medical care at home as tens of thousands have been wounded, with most of Gaza’s 36 hospitals no longer functioning, and those remaining operating at far over capacity, the World Health Organization says.
Israel has targeted the largest remaining hospitals, saying Hamas fighters are operating there, something Hamas denies.
Those lucky enough to cross into Egypt, like 16-year-old Ahmed Abu Daqqa, who was injured on Nov 1, faced long waits for medical care.
Doctors in Gaza “took out the shrapnel and put in two rods, but a month later they discovered more shrapnel” in his knee.
“They told me they’ll handle it later because there were too many surgeries,” he said on board the Dixmude.
“I tried many times to get a transfer” before finally crossing into Egypt, he added.
He was then able to undergo further surgery where the rods and shrapnel were removed and a resulting infection dealt with, and he also received physical therapy.
He and others on board the French ship were awaiting further transfers to hospitals in Egypt or abroad.
Italy sent a similar floating hospital to the Egyptian coast in December.