Hamas: Palestinians won't let this crime pass by in silence

Rockets fired, terror groups warn ‘price to be paid’ as hunger-striking suspect dies

Israel readies for escalation after Khader Adnan found dead; 4 projectiles fired from Gaza, no injuries; Islamic Jihad says his death is ‘lesson for generations’

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel cordon-off an area in Sderot on May 2, 2023, following rocket fire from Gaza. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)
Israeli security forces and emergency personnel cordon-off an area in Sderot on May 2, 2023, following rocket fire from Gaza. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP)

Four rockets were fired from Gaza on Tuesday morning as Israel readied for a potential escalation after a senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group died in Israeli custody after an 86-day hunger strike.

The Israel Defense Forces said initially three rockets launched at around 6:30 a.m. triggered sirens in the area around Kibbutz Sa’ad, and landed in open areas.

No Iron Dome interceptor missiles were fired and there were no reports of injuries or damage.

Shortly after, a mortar launched from the Strip landed close to the security barrier, the IDF said. No sirens sounded as the projectile was headed for an unpopulated area.

Khader Adnan was found unresponsive in his cell in Nitzan Prison in the central city of Ramle before dawn on Tuesday. He was brought to Shamir Medical Center outside Tel Aviv and underwent resuscitation efforts, but was declared dead at the hospital, the Prisons Service said.

The defense establishment was preparing for a potential escalation in violence in the wake of Adnan’s death, including possible rioting in prisons. The IDF was expected to respond to the rocket attack.

Trails of smoke are seen as rockets are fired from Gaza at Israel, in Gaza City on May 2, 2023. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

In a statement, Palestinian Islamic Jihad warned that “the occupation will pay the price for [Adnan’s] death,” and called for a general strike in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

“His death will be a lesson for generations. We will not leave this path as long as Palestine remains under occupation,” the terror group said.

FILE – Khader Adnan, center, is greeted by Palestinians after his release from an Israeli prison in the West Bank village of Arrabeh near Jenin, July 12, 2015 (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)

The Hamas terror group, which controls the Gaza Strip, said “the occupation bears full responsibility for the death of Khader Adnan.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem described Adnan’s death after 86 days of a hunger strike as a “coldblooded execution by the Israeli security services” and warned of an escalation.

“The Palestinian people will not let this crime pass by in silence, and will respond accordingly. The path of revolution and resistance will escalate,” he said.

Kassem also criticized the international community, saying it “stands by and does not support the Palestinian prisoners, thereby encouraging the occupation to continue its crimes.”

Meanwhile, in a press conference outside Adnan’s home, his wife, Randa Mousa, called for the Gaza-based terror groups not to respond.

“We don’t want those who respond to the Sheikh’s death. We don’t want those who fire rockets and then for Gaza to be struck afterward… Those who could have acted to end the injustice the Sheikh suffered from and didn’t — we don’t want to hear from them today,” she said.

The wife of Khader Adnan, a Palestinian Islamic Jihad member who had been on hunger strike for nearly three months, gestures after his death was announced, on May 2, 2023, at her family home near Jenin in the West Bank. (JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

The Palestinian Authority demanded an international investigation into the prisoner’s death, and said it would lodge a complaint at the International Criminal Court.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called Adnan’s death a “deliberate assassination.”

Adnan, 45, was arrested in February in his hometown of Arrabeh, in the northern West Bank near Jenin, for suspected membership in a terror group, support for a terrorist organization and incitement.

An Israeli security source said Adnan “was not a senior [member], not a leader, [and was not serving] a life sentence.”

“He went on hunger strike and adamantly refused to receive any medical treatment, and put his life in danger,” the source added.

Adnan had been indicted and was being held in custody until the end of the legal proceedings against him.

He launched his hunger strike immediately after his arrest on February 5 and refused to undergo medical checks or receive treatment while incarcerated.

The treatment and condition of terror inmates, often referred to as security prisoners, is a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last week, Adnan’s wife Mousa told AFP he was being held in the clinic at Nitzan Prison.

“[He is] refusing any support, refusing medical examinations. He is in a cell with very difficult detention conditions,” she said. “They [Israel] have refused to transfer him to a civilian hospital, they refused to allow his lawyer a visit.”

In this file photo taken on April 17, 2023, a man walks past a mural depicting Khader Adnan, a hunger-striking Palestinian terror suspect imprisoned in an Israeli jail, in Gaza City (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A medic from the group Physicians for Human Rights Israel visited Adnan in prison earlier this week and warned that he “faces imminent death,” while calling for him to be “urgently transferred to a hospital.”

The group said Adnan “struggles to move and maintain a basic conversation, appearing pale, weak, exhausted and dangerously emaciated,” according to a statement released Monday.

Adnan’s latest detention was his 10th stint in the Israeli prison system. Israeli officials said he had been detained 13 times overall.

Adnan had long been accused of being a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, and had been arrested several times in recent years and served several prison sentences in connection with his activities for the group.

After his arrest on February 5, Adnan was indicted on charges of activities for Islamic Jihad. As such, he was being held amid his trial. A hearing had been scheduled for May 10.

He had also previously gone on hunger strike four times over his detention, including over an arrest in 2018. In that case, he was convicted of having been an active member of the banned Iran-backed terror group after he pleaded guilty in a plea bargain.

In 2012 he went on hunger strike for 66 days in protest against a term of internment without trial, a controversial practice Israel calls “administrative detention.”

In 2015 he went without food for over 50 days after another arrest.

He was also arrested for suspected terrorist activity in 2019.

Palestinians attend a protest to support Khader Adnan, a hunger-striking terror suspect in an Israeli jail, in Gaza City on April 30, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir assumed control of Israel’s prisons when he came into office in December and has pushed for more strict handling of security prisoners. His ministry also oversees the police and Border Police.

In a statement, Ben Gvir said he held a special assessment with Israel Prison Service Chief Commissioner Katy Perry following Adnan’s death, and had decided to increase the level of security in the prisons.

The IPS was to close all cells, “in order to prevent riots and disorder within the prisons,” Ben Gvir’s office said.

Additionally, Ben Gvir instructed the IPS to “inform the terrorists in the prisons that if terrorists go on hunger strike or riot, the conditions they currently receive will be revoked.” his office added.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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