Israeli soldiers on Monday arrested a 21-year-old Palestinian woman at the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, claiming she was planning to set off a suicide bomb inside Israel.

According to a military report, the woman was carrying 10kg of explosives in her pants, and had a permit to enter Israel for medical treatment.

Soldiers closed the crossing for several hours, blocking all traffic.

The woman, Wafa Samir Ibrahim, is a resident of Jabalia refugee camp, in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli military intelligence claims that Ibrahim was sent by al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of Fatah.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Ibrahim had been treated at the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva some six months ago, after she sustained burns when a container of cooking gas exploded near her, and that she needed to reach the medical center for further medical tests.

  

According to Haaretz, Ibrahim said that she did not intend to carry out the bombing at the Soroka center, but at another unspecified Israeli hospital.

An Israeli military spokesperson said that soldiers became suspicious of her at the entrance of the crossing and searched her.

“When Ibrahim realized that she had been caught, she attempted to detonate herself among the soldiers, but could not ignite the explosives,” the military spokesperson said.

According to the Israeli army, more than 50 women were arrested in 2004 for involvement in carrying out attacks.

Earlier on Monday Brigadier General Yosef Kuperwasser, the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence Research Division, testified before the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not showing enough leadership in efforts to stop such attacks.

The Palestinian Authority, Kuperwasser said, “excels at doing nothing in the fight against terrorism.”

As a result, he added, Abbas will arrive at Tuesday’s meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in “a weaker position .”

Kuperwasser gave the Palestinian Authority credit for bringing about a considerable reduction in arms smuggling through tunnels from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army claims, however, that the Palestinian resistance has recently increased its attempts to smuggle arms and explosives from Egypt, and that the Palestinian security is not doing its part to stop these attempts.

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