Gazan cancer patient caught with explosives was duped, husband says

The Gazan woman caught trying to smuggle explosives into Israel hidden in medical containers did not know the content of the containers, her husband says.

Basema Atallah, 55, is undergoing treatments in Jerusalem for colorectal cancer and was given special dispensation to enter Israel from the Hamas-ruled territory for treatment. She has entered Israel some 10 times since July, but on her last trip on Wednesday, Israeli border authorities at the Erez Crossing found explosives in the medical containers she carried with her.

Her husband Ragheb tells AP his wife was unaware that she may have been smuggling anything illegal into Israel.

“Someone asked them to take a bottle of medicine on their way for a patient there,” he says. “The bottle was closed and they did not know what is inside. It seems there was something and this caused disruption,” the husband says Thursday.

Ragheb Atallah says his wife has been released by Israeli authorities and has been given permission again to go to the hospital, but her sister, 57-year-old Ibtessam Eid, who traveled with her, remains in Israeli custody.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in the coastal strip from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. Since then, Israel and Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, have fought three wars.

Despite the hostilities, Israel continues to allow thousands of Gazans to enter its territory for medical care or to travel to neighboring Jordan and other destinations.

— AP and Times of Israel staff

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