Gaza wounded taken to Egypt for medical treatment

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Wounded Palestinians from Gaza were taken Sunday across the Rafah border crossing into Egypt for medical treatment as Israeli strikes continued to pummel the enclave, medical and border sources said.

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Three convoys of 263 Palestinians -- including those wounded in the latest strikes as well as students and travelers with serious ailments -- crossed into Rafah in the restive North Sinai region, the sources said.

Israel imposed a land and sea blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in 2007.

Rafah is the only passage not controlled by Israel to the outside world for Gaza -- a densely populated area of around two million Palestinians, half of whom live below the poverty line.

Egyptian authorities opened the crossing in February but it remains heavily secured and closed during public holidays.

Egypt’s Red Crescent in North Sinai said Sunday on its Facebook page that medical emergency teams had been dispatched at the Egyptian side to help transport victims.

Tarek Tayel, Egypt’s ambassador in Ramallah, discussed with Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh Cairo’s “tireless efforts... to provide humanitarian support to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

Israeli strikes killed more than 40 Palestinians in Gaza on Sunday, the worst reported daily death toll yet in the almost week-long fighting.

The strikes have come in retaliation to Palestinian group Hamas launching rockets on Israel, amid high tensions after Israeli police clashed with Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem.

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