PARIS: France is preparing to send its Dixmude helicopter carrier to the eastern Mediterranean to offer medical assistance in Gaza, the office of the French president said on Sunday.
The Dixmude will set sail “at the start of the week and arrive in Egypt in the coming days,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said.
A charter flight carrying more than 10 tons of medical supplies is also planned for the start of the week.
“France will also contribute to the European effort with medical equipment on board European flights on November 23 and 30,” the presidential office said.
It added that “France is mobilizing all its available means to contribute to the evacuation of wounded and sick children requiring emergency care from the Gaza Strip to its hospitals.”
Macron on Saturday spoke with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi about ongoing negotiations to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu was also in Qatar on Saturday, leading the mediation efforts.
The French president and his Egyptian counterpart agreed on the “need to increase the number of trucks entering Gaza and to reinforce coordination to deliver humanitarian aid and treat the wounded,” Macron’s office said.
Also on Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Israel had suffered a “defeat” in its war against Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas, and that it was “a fact.”
In a speech at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace force center in the capital Tehran, Khamenei said, “The defeat of the regime (Israel) in Gaza is a fact.”
“Advancing and entering hospitals or people’s homes is not a victory because victory means defeating the other side,” he said.
Khamenei charged that Israel “has so far failed” in achieving its declared goal of destroying Hamas “despite the massive bombings” of Gaza.
“This incapacity reflects the inability of the US and Western countries,” which back Israel, he added.
Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the Oct. 7 attacks a “success” but denied any direct involvement. Tehran has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 revolution.
Khamenei said Israel has “killed thousands of children without any remorse.”
During his visit, the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace force unveiled new defense systems and drones, state media said, and Khamenei inspected a drone that carried the name “Gaza.”
The force also unveiled Fattah 2, an upgraded version of a hypersonic missile unveiled in June.