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Turkey working to evacuate 983 citizens from Gaza: Turkish FM

Hakan Fidan

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has announced that Turkey is continuing to work for the evacuation of 983 citizens from Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah border gate, the state-run TRT Haber news website reported on Monday.

The minister stated during a parliamentary budget committee meeting in Ankara that the evacuation of 170 citizens and their families has been completed so far and that efforts are underway for 983 more.

Fidan also said Turkey had dispatched 11 planes carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians to Egypt, due to the prolonged conflict between Israel and Palestine, which has been ongoing for over a month.

Turkey has sent a total of 666 tons of aid, which included a ship loaded with materials for field hospitals, ambulances and generators. The aid is intended for treating civilians who have managed to escape Israel’s continuous attacks on the Hamas militant group in the enclave. The most recent shipment to Egypt occurred last Saturday.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of the comprehensive targeting of Gaza with the aim of destroying Hamas, including the bombing of hospitals, schools and mosques. … Turkey has been engaged in intensive diplomatic efforts since the first day of the crisis, seeking to stop the ongoing massacre, end the brutality and prevent further escalation of tension in the region,” the minister said.

Emphasizing the intensive efforts for treatment of the injured at the Turkey-Palestine Friendship Hospital in the Gaza Strip, Fidan said Turkey had facilitated the departure of 27 patients and 12 escorts from Gaza, who have been brought to Ankara. Additionally, 61 patients and 49 escorts were transported to Egypt last night, according to the minister.

Israel launched heavy airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for an unprecedented Hamas incursion on Oct. 7, which resulted in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 240 hostages being taken to Gaza.

According to the latest data received from Gaza’s health ministry, Israeli strikes across Gaza have resulted in the deaths of at least 13,000 people and injured 30,000 more, also leading to the internal displacement of 1.6 million — approximately two-thirds of Gaza’s population.

The attacks also targeted several hospitals, including the enclave’s sole cancer treatment facility, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital. Consequently, Turkey has decided to welcome cancer patients for treatment in the country.

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