Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan died this Tuesday morning in an Israeli jail after 87 days of going on hunger strike, Israeli prison authorities announced.
Khader Adnan, one of the leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was announced dead this Tuesday morning while he was in Israeli custody. According to the Israeli prison authorities Adnan died after he refused to eat for 87days. While awaiting trial, Adnan was found unconscious in his cell and passed away before taken to a hospital. He had also refused any medical assessments or treatment, Israel’s Prisons Service said.
Lina Qasem-Hassan of Physicians for Human Rights in Israel said she saw Adnan on April 23, at which point he had lost 40 kg (88 pounds) and was having trouble breathing but was conscious. “His death could have been avoided,” Qasem Hassan told Reuters, saying that “several Israeli hospitals had refused to admit Adnan after he made brief visits to their emergency rooms”. Furious over Adnan’s death, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in Gaza in support of him and mourned his death.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad also rebuked the death and said in a statement that “our fight is continuing and the enemy will realize once again that its crimes will not pass without a response. Resistance will continue by all might and determination”. Following the statement, sirens rang out in Israeli Gaza border communities, sending residents running for shelter. Shortly after, the Israeli military said that three rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza strip, possibly in retaliation for Adnan’s death.
The Israeli military also said that for precautionary reasons and pursuant to a situational assessment, it was cancelling a military drill that had been planned for the Gaza periphery, and was putting staff in security prisons on heightened alert.
Khader Adnan, a man of hunger strikes
Khader Adnan had a history of going on hunger strikes to show his opposition to Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Since 2004, he had undertaken five hunger strikes, including a 55-day strike in 2015 to protest against his arrest under so-called administrative detention, in which suspects are held indefinitely by the Israeli military without charge or trial. Hunger strike has been used by other Palestinian prisoners, but none had died in the past three decades.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners Association, Adnan had been detained by Israel 12 times, spending around eight years in prison, mostly under administrative detention. This last time, Adnan was arrested and indicted in an Israeli military court on charges that included links to an outlawed group and incitement to violence. According to the Israeli human rights group HaMoked, Israel is also holding over 1,000 Palestinian detainees without charge or trial, the highest number since 2003.
Disputing the Prisons Service account, Adnan’s lawyer Jamil Al-Khatib and a doctor with a human rights group who recently met him accused Israeli authorities of withholding medical care. “We demanded he be moved into a civilian hospital where he could be properly followed up (on). Unfortunately, such a demand was met by intransigence and rejection,” Al-Khatib said speaking to Reuters.
The 45-year-old Adan was from Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, a political leader of the Islamic Jihad. The faction has a limited West Bank presence but is the second most powerful armed group in Hamas-ruled Gaza, where Israeli forces fought a brief war against it last year in August.