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Stepping up hunger strike, Barghouti stops drinking water

Convicted Fatah terrorist Marwan Barghouti reportedly stops drinking water in an attempt to escalate a month-long hunger strike being led by Palestinian security prisoners.

A report from the Palestinian Ma’an news agency quotes lawyer Khader Shqeirat of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs as saying that Barghouti’s decision to forgo water would mark “a new turning point in the ongoing open-ended hunger strike.”

The committee also says Israel is taking “a criminal stance regarding the just demands of prisoners,” which it said Barghouti refuses to negotiate or compromise over, according to Ma’an.

Palestinian activists stand around a 5x4 meter (16.5x13 feet) mosaic portrait of Marwan Barghouti near an Israeli military installation in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Palestinian activists stand around a 5×4 meter (16.5×13 feet) mosaic portrait of Marwan Barghouti near an Israeli military installation in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

According to Palestinian officials, 1,500 inmates have been refusing food since the strike being led by Barghouti began on April 17 to protest prison conditions. However, Israeli officials say only some 800 continue to refuse food and have dismissed the hunger strike as an attempt by Barghouti to show Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he still wields influence on the Palestinian street.

Barghouti is serving five life sentences for his role in deadly terror attacks on Israelis. He is seen as a possible successor to Abbas.

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