Palestinian UN envoy calls Islamic Jihad member who died on hunger strike a ‘hero’

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza City hold portraits of Khader Adnan, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who died in Israeli custody on May 2, 2023 after an 86-day hunger strike. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)
Palestinians in Gaza City hold portraits of Khader Adnan, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who died in Israeli custody on May 2, 2023 after an 86-day hunger strike. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, tells a UN panel that the senior Islamic Jihad member who died while hunger striking in an Israeli prison on Tuesday was a “hero prisoner.”

Khader Adnan’s death after an 86-day hunger strike set off a round of fighting between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

Adnan was accused of being a spokesperson and senior leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed group designated as a terror organization by the US, EU, Israel and many other countries.

Mansour also falsely claims that Adnan was being held in administrative detention, a controversial practice in which detainees suspected of terror activities are held without charge or trial. Adnan had been charged with terror offenses and was awaiting trial.

“There has been a massive onslaught against our prisoners,” Mansour says. “He was among the hundreds who have been spending a long period of time under administrative detention.”

“I believe that the UN is seeking some kind of credible investigation as to why his life was taken away from him through negligence from the Israeli occupying authorities, negligence in health care, not addressing the needs of prisoners,” Mansour says. Adnan had refused medical care.

Mansour also decries airstrikes Israel carried out against Gaza terrorists overnight in response to dozens of rockets fired into Israel, without mentioning the rockets.

“Yesterday there was a night of hell against our people in the Gaza Strip in which there was aggression by the Israeli army and their aircraft,” he says.

He thanks Egypt for mediating a ceasefire between the sides, without mentioning Qatar, which was also reportedly involved in brokering the truce.

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