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250 Islamic Jihad prisoners in Israel launch hunger strike

A prison guard is seen in a watchtower at Gilboa prison, in northern Israel, September 6, 2021. (Flash90)
A prison guard is seen in a watchtower at Gilboa prison, in northern Israel, September 6, 2021. (Flash90)

Around 250 Islamic Jihad prisoners will begin a hunger strike today in protest of new Israeli policies toward Palestinian detainees, the Palestinian Prisoners Club announces.

Since six Palestinian security prisoners fled Gilboa jail in northern Israel in early September, the Israeli prison administration has taken a number of measures in an attempt to reduce the chances of another escape. The policies have included breaking apart clusters of Islamic Jihad prisoners, moving some to other jails and solitary confinement; family visits have also been postponed.

“There is only one demand: return the situation to the way it was before [the escape],” Prisoners Club director Qaddura Fares tells The Times of Israel in a phone call.

An Israeli Prison Services spokesperson says the jails have yet to see a formal hunger strike begin, however. Normally, the prisoners themselves would send a letter to the prison administration announcing their intention to commence such a strike.

The dramatic flight of the Palestinian fugitives captivated Palestinians, although Israeli forces caught all six and returned them to prison two weeks later. They were subsequently charged with escaping prison, which carries a maximum additional sentence of seven years under Israeli law.

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