People protest following the death in an Israeli jail of Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan, in the West Bank City of Nablus, 02 May 2023. EFE/EPA/ALAA BADARNEH

Israel attacks Gaza after day of intense rocket fire by militants

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.

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

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.

Randa Mousa, the wife of Palestinian Islamic Jihad member Khader Adnan, reacts as she speaks to members of the media after Adnan’s death, outside her 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.

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

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.”

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

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

Following his death, 22 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, leaving several people wounded, according to the Israeli Magen David Adom ambulance service.

A 25-year-old foreign construction worker sustained severe injuries in Sderot, an Israeli town adjacent to the Palestinian coastal enclave, and was transferred to a hospital to receive medical care.

Two more foreign workers, a 70-year-old man and a 49-year-old woman were mildly injured, while two minors received treatment for panic attacks, the health services explained.

Four of the missiles were intercepted, while 16 others landed in uninhabited areas, a military spokesperson confirmed.

The Resistance Chamber for Joint Operations, which brings together all armed groups operating in Gaza, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, has claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Elsewhere, 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