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UAE working to bring Starlink internet to field hospital in Gaza

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The UAE says it is working to bring Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet to its field hospital in Gaza.

The UAE announced that it is working in partnership with various international and regional organizations and hospitals to introduce SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband at its field hospital in the Gaza Strip.

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The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that this was another step underscoring Abu Dhabi’s unwavering efforts to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people during the ongoing war.

“The Starlink internet service will be made available in the field hospital in the [Gaza] Strip, in order to enable potentially life-saving medical consultations via real-time video calling,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Israeli government had approved the use of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet services at an Emirati-run field hospital in Gaza’s far-southern city Rafah, with further expansion in the besieged territory subject to Israeli approval, the communications minister announced on Wednesday.

Starlink’s network of low Earth orbit satellites can provide internet to remote locations, or areas that have had normal communications infrastructure disabled.

“Starlink low latency high speed connections will enable video conferencing with other hospitals and real-time remote diagnostics,” Israeli Minister of Communications Shlomo Karhi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gaza’s hospitals have been overwhelmed by more than four months of war, during which 68,291 people have been wounded during Israel’s ruthless assault, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The United Nations estimated last week that there are no fully functioning hospitals left in the territory, with only 13 of 36 working at some capacity.

Musk, who owns Starlink operator SpaceX, had initially proposed extending access to Gaza aid organizations in October after UN agencies and NGOs reported losing contact with their Gaza teams during a communications blackout.

Karhi objected at the time, saying that Hamas militants would allegedly take advantage of the internet service.

After Musk visited Israel and toured sites of Hamas’s October 7 attack, Karhi said his country had reached an in principle understanding on the use of Starlink.

“The units in the Gaza Strip for the purposes of humanitarian aid” will depend on Israeli security clearance, Karhi said on Wednesday.

Musk wrote on his social media platform X that he “greatly appreciated” Israel’s move, and hoped it would help both Israelis and “innocent civilians in Gaza”.

With AFP

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