An outbreak of swine flu has claimed the lives of nine Palestinians in the West Bank, the office of Palestinian Authority Prime Minster Salam Fayyad said Saturday, according to AFP.

The PA said that 187 cases of the H1N1 influenza strain had been recorded since the start of the winter season, the majority of which were in the northern West Bank.

The statement added that the PA Health Ministry "has the necessary medicines, testing kits and equipment to deal efficiently with the spread of the virus".

Israel's Health Minstry stated that no special arrangements were being prepared in Israel in light of the West Bank swine flu deaths, Israel Radio reported.

However, the ministry said that it was keeping a close eye on the latest outbreak of the virus in the West Bank.

About 85 Israelis, mostly of them with serious chronic illness, reportedly died of the flu strain in 2009, even though none underwent an autopsy to prove the connection.

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich contributed to this report.

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