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Gaza authorities call for new Intifada to free political prisoners

Ashkelon prison

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on April 30 for a new intifada to support Palestinian prisoners being held by Israel, who started a mass hunger-strike two weeks ago. The Hamas premier urged Arab and Muslim nations to intervene to support detainees, in remarks at a rally for prisoners in Gaza City. The prime minister challenged human rights groups to "break their silence" and demand freedom for all Palestinians held in Israel. More than 4,000 Palestinians are currently imprisoned in Israel—around 320 of them without any charge. On April 17, marking Palestinian Prisoners Day, at least 1,200 prisoners in Israel launched an open-ended hunger strike, with prisoner groups estimating that 2,000 people are now refusing food. They are demanding improvements in living conditions, and an end to solitary confinement, night raids and bans on family visits for prisoners from Gaza. Prison authorities have responded by denying them family visits and separating them from inmates not taking part in the protest. (Ma'an News Agency, April 30)

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