Italy to send hospital ship close to Gaza coast

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will send a hospital ship close to the coast of Gaza to help treat victims of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said on Wednesday.

The ship is leaving on Wednesday from the western Italian port of Civitavecchia with 170 staff, including 30 people trained for medical emergencies, the minister said, adding that Italy was also working to send a field hospital to Gaza.

Crosetto suggested that two Italian naval vessels already sent to the region were likely to remain in place.

“We will evaluate whether to keep them in the area but I prefer to keep three ships there and not to have any regrets,” Crosetto told reporters.

Foreign ministers from the G7, which includes Italy, called on Wednesday for humanitarian pauses in the Israel-Hamas war to allow in aid and help the release of hostages.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, writing by Alvise Armellini and Keith Weir, editing by Cristina Carlevaro and Christina Fincher)