Gaza mother dies on her way to first visit with imprisoned son in five years

One of the few Gaza mothers permitted to visit her son in Israeli prison for the first time in five years died on Monday while on her way to make that visit, Ma’an News reported.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The mother of a Palestinian prisoner died on Monday while traveling with a group from Gaza to visit relatives in Israeli jails, a prisoners group said.

Aisha Isleih died as the bus was preparing to leave for Israel, Saber Abu Karsh, director of the Gaza-based prisoners group Waed told Ma’an.

The cause of death is still being determined.

Isleih was part of a group of 37 people who were heading to Israel to visit jailed relatives, in the fourth such visit of its kind since 2007. Isleih had not seen her son since he was detained five years ago on a twelve year sentence.

In 2007, Israel started limiting what it considers privileges for Hamas and Gaza prisoners in a bid to put pressure on Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held in Gaza until last fall.

The visitors issue was one of the key demands of the hundreds of prisoners who went on a hunger strike in the spring.

In a deal to end the strike, Israeli authorities agreed to allow limited personal visits.