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Hundreds of wounded Libyans to be treated in Germany

By Rick Noack, CNN
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Fri October 28, 2011
Libyan NTC fighters take a wounded comrade to a field hospital in Sirte on October 18.
Libyan NTC fighters take a wounded comrade to a field hospital in Sirte on October 18.
  • More than 300 wounded Libyans will be treated in Germany in the next 10 days
  • 111 Libyans are already receiving treatment in Germany
  • The United States plans to treat at least 28 wounded Libyan fighters
  • The Libyans are being taken abroad because their wounds can't be treated in Libya

Berlin (CNN) -- More than 300 wounded Libyans will arrive in Germany to be treated in hospitals within the next 10 days in an operation approved by Libya's interim government, the German Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"Our expectation of the amount of the wounded Libyans treated in German hospitals changes each hour," said Thomas Holz of the German health service Almeda. According to Almeda's marketing chief Michael Blasius, the company expects the number of Libyan patients to rise.

Already, 111 Libyans who arrived in 20 planes are receiving treatment in German civilian hospitals. Four further planes were expected to land in German territory Friday.

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"Some of those patients will be transferred to countries like France, Great Britain, Turkey and the U.S.," Blasius told CNN on Friday.

The United States plans to provide treatment for at least 28 wounded Libyan fighters. U.S. officials said Thursday that at least 24 would be taken to a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, because their wounds cannot be treated in Libya. An additional four will go to U.S. medical facilities in Germany, according to Major Janelle Jeffrey of the U.S. Africa Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

Libya's National Transitional Council requested the U.S. medical treatment, which is being offered as a humanitarian gesture and support for Libya's democratic aspirations, U.S. officials said.

Almeda said it received the health service request by Libya's new Finance Ministry on October 14. Four days later, the first military plane arrived in Germany with dozens of wounded Libyans.

That was a day after German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler announced Germany would offer medical help to the NTC.

Three so-called "scouting teams" are currently screening Libyan and Tunisian hospitals, searching for heavily injured Libyans who might benefit from treatment abroad.

Almeda told CNN there would be two further scouting teams in Tunisia and Libya at the beginning of next week.

Many wounded Libyans had already received treatment in Tunisia, according to Blasius.

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy in Washington and Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin contributed to this report.

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