PARIS - France is in talks with Egypt to establish a military medical facility on the ground, which would include surgical capacities for people seriously wounded in the neighbouring Gaza Strip, France's defence minister said in remarks published on Monday.
Paris will host an international humanitarian conference for the civilian population in Gaza later this week as it looks to coordinate international efforts for the Israeli-occupied Palestinian enclave.
Israeli fighter jets struck 450 Hamas targets in Gaza and troops seized a militant compound in the past 24 hours, the Israel Defence Forces said on Monday, while the Palestinian enclave's health ministry said the air strikes killed dozens of people.
"There are also still discussions with Egypt in order to preposition a French military health offering on the ground, particularly providing surgery for war injuries," Sebastien Lecornu said in an interview with Lebanon's L'Orient le Jour newspaper.
Egypt has itself prepared a field hospital at Sheikh Zuweid, 15 km (9 miles) from the Rafah crossing to Gaza, to treat evacuees from the fighting.
France has sent the Tonnerre helicopter carrier to the region that President Emmanuel Macron had said aimed to support Gaza hospitals. Military sources say it is not equipped to provide medical assistance to people affected by the bombings in the besieged area.
However, the French military is currently equipping a second helicopter carrier with advanced medical facilities. It is set to sail to the region in the next 10 days.
"The Dixmude helicopter carrier, which will be reinforced with medical capacities, will be sent soon to the zone to relieve the Tonnerre helicopter carrier," Lecornu said.
Diplomats said the conference in Paris on Nov. 9 would also look at setting up a maritime corridor to use sea lanes to ship humanitarian aid into Gaza, but also to see how ships could be used to help the wounded evacuated from Gaza.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Nick Macfie)