Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan hugs his daughter as he arrives home in the village of Araba, near the West Bank City of Jenin, 12 July 2015 EFE/EPA/ALAA BADARNEH

Palestinian Khader Adnan dies in Israeli prison after hunger strike

Jerusalem, May 2 (EFE).- Prominent Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, a high-ranking member of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, died on Tuesday morning in an Israeli jail after an 86-day hunger strike.

Adnan, 44, imprisoned over his alleged membership in a terrorist organization, terrorism and inciting violence, was found unconscious in his cell at Nitzan Prison and was pronounced dead later at an Israeli hospital on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

He had refused to receive medical treatment, the Israel Prison Service said.

Sons of Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan shout slogans following his death, outside their home in the village of Araba, near the West Bank City of Jenin, 02 May 2023. EFE/EPA/ALAA BADARNEH

The ministry of detainees and ex-detainees affairs of the Palestinian National Authority also confirmed Adnan’s death as a result of the hunger strike that he began on February 5 in protest against his detention.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh blamed Israel for carrying out “a deliberate assassination” against Adnan, “by rejecting his request for his release, neglecting him medically, and keeping him in his cell despite the seriousness of his health condition,” he said, according to the WAFA news agency.

The Palestinian foreign ministry said that the Israeli government bore “full and direct responsibility” for Adnan’s death for failing to release him despite the risk of death and said it would raise the issue of the “crime” with the International Criminal Court.

The nonprofit Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) warned on Monday, when Adnan’s hunger strike reached its 86th day, that he faced “imminent death” and should be “urgently transferred to a hospital” as he was “dangerously emaciated” and was struggling “to move and maintain a basic conversation.”

Palestinian protesters hold pictures of Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan following his death in an Israeli jail, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 02 May 2023. EFE/EPA/ATEF SAFADI

An Israeli district court had recently rejected two petitions for his transfer to a hospital.

In protest at his death, three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. According to the Israeli military, the missiles landed in uninhabited areas.

No militia has claimed responsibility for them so far.

A Palestinian opened fire at Israeli vehicles near Avnei Hefetz Israeli settlement following Adnan’s death, slightly injuring one Israeli person, according to the Israeli army.

A mass rally was held in Adnan’s hometown Arraba in Jenin, while some 500 Palestinians, including teenagers and children, gathered in a main square in the West Bank city of Ramallah to march in protest over Adnan’s death in Israeli custody.

“Thank you, martyr!” protesters waving Palestinian flags and holding Adnan’s photos shouted, as they marched through the streets of Ramallah.

The Islamic Jihad movement, meanwhile, has called a general strike in Palestinian territories and vowed that “the enemy will pay the price for this crime.”

“Today’s message is very clear. By killing Adnan, Palestinians are even more determined to continue our struggle to achieve our goal of independence, self-determination and the establishment of the State of Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital,” Issam Baker, coordinator of the Palestinian political factions in Ramallah, told Efe.

“This assassination will not stop us from continuing our fight, we will never give up even if the Israeli crimes continue against our people,” he said.

Hela Cherif, a Palestinian of Tunisian origin living in Ramallah, said: “We don’t want the Israeli occupation to imprison our children, our brothers, husbands and fathers without charge.”

Adnan was arrested in the early hours of February 5 at his residence in Arraba in Jenin, one of the most troubled areas of the occupied West Bank in the last year and where Palestinian Islamic Jihad has a strong presence.

Arrested 12 times by Israel, Adnan spent more than eight years in prison and became a symbol of Palestinian resistance, having undertaken five hunger strikes.

A Palestinian Islamic Jihad spokesperson warned last week that Adnan’s death would be considered a “murder” by Israel and lead to “serious consequences.”

Almost 5,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, of whom more than 1,000 are in administrative detention, that is, without charge or trial.

More than 1 million Palestinians have been imprisoned since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967, including over 15,000 women, according to information from the ministry of detainees and ex-detainees affairs. EFE