Israel says it will send more H1N1 vaccine to Gaza, where 2 more die

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Two more people died of H1N1 flu in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 13, bringing to 10 the total number of Gazans who have been killed by the disease, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

"Two more cases died today, a 25-year-old woman and a 35-year-old man, bringing the total number of deaths from A (H1N1) to 10," said Hassan Khalaf, a ministry spokesman.

He added that another 67 people have been stricken with the disease, including "a number of serious cases," according to Agence France Presse.

"We will transfer between 30,000 and 40,000 vaccines that were supplied by the World Health Organization, since the security closures don't stop the spread of illnesses," said Col. Moshe Levy, who heads the Israeli liaison office for Gaza.

Israel has already provided 10,000 doses to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory, where it maintains a blockade in a bid to halt rocket fire from Palestinian militants.

Gaza, which has been under strict Israeli closure since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in June 2007, was among the last places in the world to see cases of the virus, the first of which were reported a week ago.

The ministry has demanded 300,000 vaccines for the impoverished territory of 1.5 million people, including some 13,000 vaccines for government and public and private health workers.

Israel has already allowed in 10,000 doses of swine flu vaccine in a bid to prevent the latest outbreak from spreading to the Jewish state, which has lost 67 people to the virus.

The Hamas-run government has meanwhile started examining foreigners entering the territory through the Erez crossing with Israel for signs of the disease, including by taking their temperature.