It is the first Western military ship to dock in Egypt since the conflict started and moored on Monday at al-Arish 50 km west of Gaza, now a hub for international aid for Gaza.
The ship’s arrival comes amid a truce suspension of fighting between Israel and Hamas, in which Israeli hostages are being exchanged for Palestinian prisoners.
The temporary ceasefire has provided an opportunity to get further aid into Gaza and create processes for evacuating wounded civilians.
“We have this ship, which has been transformed into a hospital and which arrived yesterday. It has 40 beds,” Lecornu told Europe 1 radio.
The Dixmude’s medical capacities have been adapted to create a military-civilian medical force, notably in pediatrics. With two operating theaters and 40 beds, it could treat those with light injuries before they are moved to hospitals on the ground.
Some 22 civilian doctors, including 16 surgeons and six pediatricians, are on board, French officials said.
Once treated on the Dixmude, the children will need to be moved to larger hospitals in Egypt or field hospitals in Gaza so that more patients may be tended to.
Moreover, Paris has made available, if necessary, 50 beds in France for gravely wounded and sick children in Gaza, which could include cancer patients.
Egypt has said it could integrate children into its medical system, but has asked France for more specialized equipment and financing, officials said.