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Hamas warns Israel against hunger strike deaths

(AFP) / 4 May 2012

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — A leader of the Islamist Hamas movement on Friday warned Israel there would be consequences if any of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike dies in jail.

“You must realise that the hunger strike isn’t a party, and we could be surprised by the death of some of them,” Khalil al-Haya said at a solidarity tent for the strikers in the centre of Gaza City.

“If that happens, you can expect both the expected and the unexpected from us,” he said.

Two Palestinians, Bilal Diab, 34, and 27-year-old Thaer Halahla, have been on hunger strike for 66 days.

The two have been joined on hunger strike by at least 1,550 Palestinian prisoners, the bulk of whom began refusing food on April 17.

“We are summoned to ready armies to free our prisoners... We have the means to mobilise and for combat,” Haya said.

The radical Islamic Jihad movement has threatened to no longer observe a truce with Israel if one of the hunger-strikers dies.

Rallies in solidarity with the prisoners were staged on Friday across the Palestinian territories, with around 2,000 gathering in Ramallah in the West Bank.

The hunger-strikers are calling for improved prison conditions, including increased access to lawyers and family visits, an end to solitary confinement and an end to administrative detention.


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