A senior leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group died in Israeli custody on Tuesday after an 86-day hunger strike.
Khader Adnan was found unresponsive in his cell in Nitzan jail in the central city of Ramle during the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning.
He was brought to the Shamir Medical Center outside Tel Aviv and underwent resuscitation efforts, but was declared dead at the hospital, the Prisons Service said.
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.
He 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 had refused to undergo medical checks or receive treatment while incarcerated.
Shortly after his death was announced, rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel near Kibbutz Sa’ad.
The Israel Defense Forces said it identified three launches from Gaza at Israel that landed in open areas. No interceptor rockets were fired and there were no reports of injuries or damage.
The treatment and condition of terror inmates, often referred to as security prisoners, is often a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There was no immediate statement from Palestinian Islamic Jihad after Adnan’s death.
The Palestinian Authority demanded an investigation into Adnan’s death.
Adnan’s latest detention was his 10th stint in the Israeli prison system.
Adnan had long been accused of being a spokesperson for the terror group, and had been arrested several times in recent years and served several prison sentences in connection with his work for Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
He had also previously gone on hunger strike several 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, what 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.
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.