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Among the numerous people recently detained by security forces is a young woman from the Gaza Strip suspected of being Hamas' first female bomb maker.

Samar Sabih, 22, was sent by Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to train new explosive experts.

Hamas in Gaza is believed to have taught Sabih, of the Jabalyah refugee camp, how to make bombs.

A few months ago she submitted a request to the Israeli authorities asking them to let her live in Tul Karm so that she could marry her fiance, who lived there.

The defense establishment permitted her to do so, as she had no record of security breaches.

When Sabih arrived in Tul Karm, she married her fiance and contacted Hamas activists from Ramallah. Shin Bet sources said she gave bomb-making lessons to Ali Kadi, one of the organization's members who later took part in the abduction of Sasson Nuriel. Sabih also allegedly trained her husband to prepare explosives, so that he could replace her in training others if she were caught, the sources said.

Sabih and her husband were both arrested some two weeks ago.

This is the first time, as far as Israeli sources know, that Hamas operated a woman bomb maker.

Until recently, women were seldom included in operations against Israeli targets -a trend that changed over the course of the Al-Aqsa intifada.