Hebrew and Western media, citing an official from the American White House administration, reported on Friday, November 3, that Hamas attempted to use ambulances provided by the Red Cross and Red Crescent to smuggle fighters within the list of the wounded leaving Gaza for medical treatment in Egypt via the Rafah crossing.
They added that the American official clarified that "this conspiracy was discovered by the United Nations and Egypt when the Palestinian Authority submitted a list of individuals needing medical transfer from the Gaza Strip to Egypt. Upon verification, it became apparent that more than a third of the names were known Hamas members. Consequently, the list was rejected, and only 76 individuals were accepted."
The sources note that Hamas' attempts were the reason for the delay in the operation to transport the wounded, which began on Wednesday, Nov. 1, according to the statement of the unnamed American official.
They added that the official, who spoke to reporters on Friday, confirmed that Hamas ultimately withdrew its demands for its fighters’ passage.
Lack of Evidence in Claims of Smuggling Hamas Members to Egypt in Ambulances
Misbar reviewed the media reports about Hamas' alleged attempts to use ambulances transporting wounded Gazans to Egypt to smuggle fighters. It found these reports to be one-sided and lacking clear evidence.
These sources mentioned that the senior administration official, speaking to journalists about Hamas' attempts to exploit the ambulances, requested anonymity, which raises doubts given the American administration's usual transparency about its positions since the beginning of the current Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.
The media did not explain how the American administration determined the presence of Hamas fighters among the wounded in the reports. Examination of the same news in official Egyptian sources revealed no Egyptian official had made these claims, although the sources stated that the names were examined by the United States, Egypt, and Israel. Egypt has repeatedly accused Israel of obstructing aid to Gaza.
Israeli Claims of Transporting Supplies for Hamas in Aid Entering Gaza
In this context, The Times of Israel reported that two senior Israeli officials claimed Israeli inspectors discovered oxygen concentrators hidden in an aid truck, intended for ventilating tunnels managed by the resistance in Gaza.
One senior Israeli official stated, "the oxygen concentrators were not for hospital use but for underground operations, hence their concealment in biscuit boxes," adding that "the entire truck laden with oxygen concentrators was barred from entering Gaza." However, no official provided a photo of the oxygen concentrators, nor did they identify the organization responsible for sending the truck.
Transporting Wounded from Gaza to Egypt
For the first time in the current Israeli conflict in Gaza, the Egyptian Health Ministry announced the arrival of the first group of wounded from Gaza, including foreign passport holders, through the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday.
The Ministry conducted medical checkups on the foreigners and distributed the wounded among hospitals in North Sinai Province. Egypt also established a field hospital in Sheikh Zuweid, Sinai, to treat injured Palestinians.
The General Authority for Crossings and Borders in Gaza stated today that "the Rafah crossing opened on the 25th day of the Israeli aggression on Gaza," noting that 76 wounded individuals and escorts were transported in ambulances, and six buses carrying 345 passengers with foreign passports departed, with more expected to follow.
Dr. Khaled Abdulghaffar, Egypt's Health and Population Minister, stated that preparations were intensified in North Sinai hospitals to receive Palestinians from Gaza. He added during a press conference held today, Saturday, in North Sinai Province, "We are equipped to handle the majority of cases," and estimated that 40 to 50 cases arrive daily from Gaza, with Egyptian personnel ready to treat more.
Accusations Against Israel for Obstructing Aid to Gaza Strip
It is noteworthy that aid trucks have been stalled at the Rafah crossing in Egypt for weeks. Egypt has clarified that Israeli obstacles are preventing the aid from reaching the Gaza Strip, vowing to ensure that humanitarian and relief aid reaches the Palestinians in the Strip.
An Egypt Foreign Ministry spokesperson earlier stated, "It is regrettable that the operation to transport aid to the Strip is facing significant logistic challenges imposed by the Israeli side." He added that Israel requires inspection of buses at the Israeli Nitzana border crossing, leading to delays, refusals of many aid shipments due to political and security concerns, and slow inspection processes, coupled with repeated military escalation at the crossing.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry: Israeli Procedures Hinder Aid to Gaza
The International Criminal Court's Prosecutor, Karim Khan, said in a press conference at Rafah crossing that the hindrance of relief aid to Gaza's inhabitants could constitute a crime under the Court's jurisdiction. Khan emphasized that "Israel must make significant efforts without delay to ensure civilians receive essential food and medicine." U.N. officials also noted that the aid supplies entering Gaza are limited and do not meet the extensive needs on the ground.
Israel Bombs Ambulances in Gaza
Israeli forces bombed ambulances near Shifa hospital in Gaza on Friday evening, resulting in the deaths of 15 Palestinians. The military confirmed the bombardment, claiming it targeted Hamas activists. The Medical Shifa Group director asserted that the convoy bombed by Israel was coordinated with the Red Cross and that Israeli planes targeted ambulances in three areas of Gaza City, also hitting wounded individuals en route to Rafah crossing. Most hospitals in Gaza were non-operational due to Israeli bombardments.
Israel Justifies Its Actions in Gaza Citing Hamas As Pretext
Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza on Oct. 7, following Al-Qassam Brigades' launch of Operation Al Aksa Flood, Israel has attempted to justify its actions by accusing Hamas. Israel previously bombed the Baptist Hospital (al-Ahli) in Gaza, initially denying responsibility and blaming Palestinian resistance brigades in the Strip. It claimed a missile launched by the Islamic Jihad Movement mistakenly hit the hospital's car park and was fired from a cemetery nearby. Misbar verified Israel's involvement in the hospital bombing.