Gaza ceasefire holds as Palestinians protest hunger striker’s death

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By Webdesk


The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has announced a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after it exchanged fire with Israel following the death of hunger striker Adnan Khader in Israeli custody.

Mediators from Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations intervened to negotiate a return to calm as of 04:00 (01:00 GMT), sources at Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli army announced a “full return to routine” in areas near Gaza on Wednesday.

Earlier, Israeli fighter jets had hit Gaza when armed groups there fired rockets at Israel in response to the death of Adnan, a prominent political leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He died after an 87-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison.

Prior to the ceasefire, Israeli warplanes launched multiple strikes against areas in Gaza, including Al-Safina, Al-Baydar and empty land near the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood.

A Palestinian man, Hashel Mubarak Salman Mubarak, 58, was killed and five people injured in the Israeli strikes, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday.

Adnan, who was awaiting trial, was found unconscious in his cell and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead after unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him, the Israel Prisons Service said. He was the first Palestinian hunger striker to die in Israeli custody in more than 30 years.

About 100 rockets were fired by armed groups from Gaza towards Israel, according to Islamic Jihad. In response, the Israeli army said it had carried out a number of airstrikes on Gaza, targeting “arms factories, outposts, military complexes and an underground terror tunnel” belonging to Hamas.

A Palestinian woman holds a poster with a photo of Khader Adnan during a protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah
A Palestinian woman holds a poster with a photo of Khader Adnan during a protest in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah [File: Nasser Nasser/AP]

The Israeli army said the last warning sirens sounded near Gaza territory at 5:30 am (02:30 GMT).

“One round of confrontation has ended, but the march of resistance continues and will not stop,” Tariq Salmi, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said in a statement. “Our brave warriors have proven their loyalty and commitment to the defense of their people.”

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh demanded that Israel immediately return Adnan’s body to his family.

“We emphasize – and as we have informed all mediators who intervened – the need to hand over the body of the martyr Khader Adnan to his patient family,” Haniyeh said in a statement.

A series of high-profile hunger strikes during at least 13 stints in Israeli custody had made Adnan a national hero and revived the hunger strike as a form of protest among Palestinians captured by Israel.

Demolition of houses

Meanwhile, Israeli forces demolished the homes of two Palestinian families in the occupied West Bank.

Salfit Governor Abdullah Kamil called on the international community and human rights organizations to stand up for the Palestinian people and their rights.

Under the new right-wing Israeli government sworn in late last year, Israeli officials have accelerated the demolition of what Israel calls “illegal” Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as homes belonging to Palestinians accused of committing crimes. attacks. attacks on Israelis.

INTERACTIVE Palestinian Prisoners Israeli Prisons August 2022

General strike, more protests

Also on Wednesday, shops and schools remained closed during a general strike announced the day before in several towns in the occupied West Bank in support of Adnan.

In the city of Hebron, some protesters burned tires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them. There were no reports of injuries.

“We have to close our cities to protest and do more than that,” Majid Abullah, a protester in Ramallah, told Al Jazeera.

“He [Adnan] starved for 86 days. The people here have been conditioned to think it’s normal. It’s exhausting, but we have to come out and do this, because no one is listening. People need to hear.”

On Tuesday, hundreds of people also took to the streets in blockaded Gaza and the West Bank cities of Nablus, Jenin, Hebron and Ramallah to rally in support of Adnan and mourn his death.

Palestinians in Ramallah said they planned another protest in support of Adnan at 6 p.m. [15:00 GMT] on Wednesday.

On Tuesday evening, Palestinian Authority security forces suppressed a march in Jenin in support of Adnan with tear gas and stun grenades. They also arrested prominent activist Ghassan al-Saadi and two others.

At least 11 other Palestinians were also detained by Israeli forces in the West Bank.



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