Rights groups: Israel detains Gaza patient at Erez crossing

12:00 Jul 15 2012 Erez checkpoint, Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian patient due to travel from the Gaza Strip for hospital treatment in Jerusalem, Palestinian and Israeli rights groups said Monday.

Rawhi Fouad Kerkz 43, from Jabaliya, never returned from Israel's Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip after he went to meet intelligence officials to discuss his permit on Sunday, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and Physicians for Human Rights - Israel said.

Kerkez had an appointment in Al Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem for May 31, and while his appointment passed, Israeli intelligence summoned him to Erez to review his application.

After he left early Sunday, later in the evening an Israeli official telephoned the family to tell them he was being held in Ashkelon jail.

An Israeli military spokeswoman referred Ma'an to the Ministry of Defense, who could not be reached for comment on Kerkez's detention.

The groups said Israel's detention of Palestinian patients trying to leave the coastal enclave had escalated, with Kerkez's arrest the third such case in a month.

They urged the international community to stop Israel's violation of the right to medical treatment.
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