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Health minister says efforts underway to transfer children with cancer in Gaza to Turkey

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Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced that his ministry is planning to bring children with cancer in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza to Turkey for medical care as ongoing Israeli airstrikes have brought operations at Gaza’s medical facilities to a halt, Deutsche Welle Turkish edition reported on Thursday.

Koca said during a speech in parliament on Thursday that he spoke to Uriel Menachem Buso, the Israeli minister of health, a day earlier and that they had agreed that health services in Gaza should continue.

“I said the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital is the only facility providing cancer treatment in Gaza and has become unable to continue its services. … I emphasized the responsibility we bear for the ongoing treatment of innocent children. … He also acknowledged that we were right,” Koca said.

Koca added that he said Turkey was ready for the transportation of patients, especially children, to Egypt by ambulance and then bringing them to Turkey by air ambulance for treatment.

Referring to the positive stance of the Israeli minister on the matter, Koca announced that the ministry wants to start bringing children suffering from cancer to Turkey as soon as possible.

Koca also shared that his ministry is delivering approximately 500 tons of aid to Gaza including medicine, medical devices, eight field hospitals, 20 ambulances and other medical supplies, with a ship expected to depart today.

A field hospital typically consists of portable medical equipment and tent-like or inflatable structures, aiming to provide on-site intervention in emergencies.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, more than 10,500 people — including 4,300 children — have been killed in more than four weeks of war in Gaza.

The Israeli attacks started after Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people in Israel — also mostly civilians — and took over 240 hostages in an unprecedented attack on Oct. 7.

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