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Israeli woman said arrested in Syria; Israel negotiating for her release

A UN peacekeeper from the UNDOF force stands guard on a watch tower at the Quneitra Crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Friday, March 8, 2013. (AP/Ariel Schalit)
A UN peacekeeper from the UNDOF force stands guard on a watch tower at the Quneitra Crossing between Syria and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, Friday, March 8, 2013. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Syria’s official SANA news agency reports that an Israeli woman accidentally entered the country through the Quneitra crossing and has been arrested.

Israel is negotiating a prisoner swap for the woman, who has yet to be identified, which is being coordinated by Russia, the report says. Two prisoners incarcerated in Israel may be exchanged for the woman, it says.

The report comes a day after Israel’s cabinet holds a meeting on a classified “humanitarian issue” related to Syria.

“The exchange is taking place through Russian mediation to liberate the Syrians Nihal Al-Makt and Dhiyab Qahmuz, the Syrian prisoner from the occupied Syrian Golan, in an exchange during which a young Israeli woman entered the Syrian territories by mistake will be released. She entered the Quneitra region by mistake and was arrested by the Syrian authorities,” reports SANA.

The SANA news agency says the two Syrians are natives of the Israeli Golan Heights. Nihal al-Makt, one of the Syrians, comes from a family of a number of former prisoners in Israeli prisons. Her brother was released in an exchange of prisoners last year, also mediated by Russia, that came after Syria returned the remains of an Israeli soldier killed in a 1982 battle.

Aaron Boxerman, AP contributed to this report.

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