Hamas prisoners threaten to go on hunger strike

Hamas did not say how many prisoners would take part in the hunger strike or when it is planned to begin.

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City May 22, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)

Hamas on Sunday said dozens of its prisoners in Israeli prisons are preparing to go on hunger strike in support of six inmates who are already refusing food.

The announcement came 48 hours after Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) said its prisoners had ended a nine-day hunger strike after Israeli authorities met most of their demands.

Israeli security sources, however, denied the claim. They also denied that 250 PIJ prisoners had taken part in the hunger strike, saying there were fewer than 50.

Hamas did not say how many prisoners would take part in the hunger strike or when it would begin.

A body called the Higher Leadership Committee of the Prisoners of Hamas said it holds Israel responsible for the lives of Kayed al-Fasfous, Miqdad al-Qawassmeh and four other prisoners who are on a hunger strike in protest of their administrative detention.

 A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS) A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Fasfous has been on a hunger strike for 102 days, while Qawassmeh began his fast 95 days ago, according to Palestinian sources.

The committee said Alaa al-Araj has been on a hunger strike for 78 days, Hisham Abu Hawwash for 69 days, Shadi Abu Aker for 61 days, Ayyad al-Harimi for 32 days and Ra’fat Abu Rabei for eight days.

Khaled al-Haj, a senior Hamas official, called on all Palestinian factions and the Palestinian Authority to exert pressure on Israel to save the lives of the six hunger strikers.