Assouta Medical Center, Tel Aviv
Assouta Medical Center, Tel Aviv Photo by Nir Keidar
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While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' feet to the fire over the kidnapping of three teenage boys in the West Bank, Abbas' wife was secretly undergoing surgery on her leg in an Israeli hospital, the Ynet news site reported Sunday.

Amina Abbas, known to Palestinians as Umm Mazen, was admitted to Assouta Medical Center in Tel Aviv's Ramat Hahayal neighborhood on Thursday – the day of the kidnapping – then underwent surgery the following day, and was due to be released Sunday.

Guards were stationed at her room on the 7th floor Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Ward of the hospital, Israel's newest. Patients and visitors inquiring about the guards were sent away with a phony story.

Israeli authorities did not comment on the report. The hospital said: "Out of concern for the privacy of its patients, Assouta does not disclose the identities of inpatients or those coming in for treatment, thus we cannot confirm or deny any information regarding the [female] patient."

Israeli hospitals are equipped to carry out many medical procedures that are beyond the capacity of their Palestinian counterparts, and in the past senior Palestinian officials and even Hamas members, some from Gaza, have sought and been given medical treatment in Israel.

About two years ago, the sister of Ismail Haniyeh, then Hamas' prime minister of Gaza, accompanied her husband (Haniyeh's brother-in-law) for emergency treatment at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, and stayed with him for about a week. Also, Haniyeh's granddaughter was treated in Israel about six months ago for an acute digestive disorder.