Palestinians say Israeli prison hunger strike grows

October 3, 2011 22:33

Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails have joined a hunger strike to protest against worsening prison conditions, the Palestinian Authority minister for prisoner affairs said on Monday.

Issa Qaraqea told Reuters that some 500 prisoners in Israeli jails were refusing to eat, rapidly swelling the ranks of the protest which began last week.

The strike was called after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toughened restrictions on Palestinian prisoners as part of an effort to force Hamas to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

Sivan Weizman, a spokeswoman for Israel's Prisons Service, said only 160 prisoners were on a hunger strike and that some of them stopped eating six days ago.

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