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UAE launches air bridge for injured Iraqis

posted on 14/05/2003: 776 views

A UAE Air Force jet flew into Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen military airport yesterday with four wounded Iraqis at the start of an air bridge ordered by President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan to bring injured Iraqis for treatment. The aircraft landed at around 4:30pm carrying three men and a woman wounded during the U.S.-led offensive that toppled President Saddam Hussain last month and damaged hospitals and other infrastructure in Iraq. Another four were expected to be flown in today while nearly 40 wounded Iraqis will be brought from Baghdad next week for treatment in the UAE hospitals.

The four were flown yesterday out of the northern Iraqi town of Mosul, where the UAE became the first country to send an aircraft to the airport that has just been reopened. The aircraft carried relief aid to the war-battered northern city and brought back the wounded. Four ambulances were on standby at the tarmac as the jet touched down at Al Bateen air base, just a few kilometres outside Abu Dhabi city.

The wounded, aged between 20 and 60 years, were laid on stretchers and rolled out of the jet towards the ambulances. They were taken to Al Mafraq hospital, which officials said had been prepared to receive the injured Iraqis. Al Jazira and Khalifa military Hospital as well as other hospitals have also been prepared to receive wounded Iraqis, who the RCA said could reach in hundreds. The RCA is supervising the operation, which also involves sending relief to Iraq, including food, medicine, blankets, medical equipment and spare parts for power stations. The RCA officials said around Dh4 million ($1.2 million) have been allocated in the past few days to buy food and other relief items from Turkey to be distributed in northern Iraq. (The Gulf News)


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