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Palestinian prisoners suspend hunger strike, declare ‘victory’

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement has declared “victory” over the Israel Prison Service following a mass hunger strike by its prisoners, who took the action in refusal of the punitive measures imposed on them after the escape of six Palestinians from a maximum security Israeli detention center last month.

“The prisoners decided to suspend the hunger strike after they scored victory against the administration of the occupation prison authorities,” Islamic Jihad official Tareq Ezaddin said on Friday.

He added that the details of the agreement between the prisoners and the Israel Prison Service will be announced in the coming hours.

“The victory is a turning point in the confrontation with the [Israeli] jailers,” Ezaddin said.

Some 250 Islamic Jihad inmates went on hunger strike nine days ago in protest of restrictions imposed on them.

In the predawn hours of September 6, Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Jenin and five Islamic Jihad members tunneled their way out through their cell’s drainage system and escaped from Gilboa prison.

Israeli prison officials were alerted by farmers who noticed them running through fields.

Four of the Islamic Jihad members were serving life sentences, while the fifth had been held without charge for two years under a so-called administrative detention order, according to Israeli media.

On September 11, Israeli media outlets reported that four of the escapees had been arrested in the northern part of the occupied territories.

Israeli forces arrested the two remaining Palestinian prisoners eight days later.

The Israeli ministry of the military affairs said in a statement at the time that Iham Kamamji and Munadil Nafiyat, both members of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, were apprehended in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

On Thursday, the Islamic Jihad threatened to expand the hunger strike to include all its 400 prisoners if the demands of the inmates are not met.

The prisoners demanded that the Israel Prison Service rescind its decision to transfer them to other prisons and place some of them in solitary confinement following the prison break.

Israeli prison authorities keep Palestinian inmates under deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards. The prisoners have also been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression.

There are reportedly more than 7,000 Palestinians held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the inmates have been apparently incarcerated under the practice of administrative detention.

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