Israel treating Gazans infected with swine flu

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2009 6:48 AM

Israel says it's treating five suspected swine flu cases from Gaza in hopes of containing an outbreak of the virus in the blockaded Palestinian territory.

The move is a rare loosening of the tight blockade Israel imposed on Gaza after Hamas militants seized the coastal area in June 2007.

Israel usually only allows patients with life-threatening conditions into Israel.

Gaza health officials reported their first swine flu cases on Sunday. They say since then three people have died and nine others are hospitalized.

The virus arrived late to Gaza, likely because of the blockade that heavily restricts travel.

Israel and Hamas don't speak to each other, and all contacts go through Hamas' rival, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority.

(This version CORRECTS Gaza officials reported first cases Sunday; deaths occurred since then.)