12 Palestinians Hurt in Gaza Fighting Being Treated in Israeli Hopsitals

Wounded include boy seriously hurt when rockets fired by Gaza militants struck his house in Beit Hanoun.

Twelve Palestinians have been evacuated to Israel for medical treatment since Operation "Cast Lead" began last Saturday in the Gaza Strip, as the hospitals in Gaza strain to accommodate the hundreds of wounded. For one Gaza boy, being treated in an Israeli hospital should increase his chances of making a full recovery.

About a week and a half ago, before the operation began, 9-year-old Sari Alsamana from Beit Hanoun was playing with his cousin outside his house in the northern Gaza town when a Qassam rocket fired by Gaza militants landed nearby, followed minutes later by an additional rocket strike in the same spot.

Both boys were seriously wounded and taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Last Saturday, as Operation Cast Lead was launched and the Israel Air Force began bombing the Strip, Sari was taken out of the intensive care unit of the hospital as the facility began to overload with Gazans wounded in the IAF strikes.

Sari's condition began to worsen after he was taken out of the hospital, and the family treated him at home hoping for his condition to improve. Later they received a call from a clinic in their neighborhood saying it may be possible for them to pass through the Erez Crossing in order to receive medical care in Israel.

"Now I know he is in good hands, that they will take care of him with devotion," Sari's father Mana said Wednesday from the Tel Hashomer Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he is staying with his son until he recovers from his injuries.

"The atmosphere is different, it's America here. In Gaza there is nothing but fear, cold, hunger, and war," Mana added.

Sari's cousin was released from Shifa Hospital this week, in spite of his being in critical condition.

"They have no room in the hospital, they released him and he is likely to die," Mana said.

On Wednesday, two additional Palestinian children were taken to Israel for treatment, including a 7-year-old with Down's Syndrome who suffered a head injury from an IAF bomb dropped next to his house in Gaza. The boy's father was killed by the bomb and his mother was wounded.

The boy is currently under treatment at the Schneider Children's Hospital in Petach Tikvah, where he arrived in critical condition with serious injuries to his spinal cord and neck. His condition will be assessed again in the coming days.