Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Jailed PFLP leader threatens to start hunger strike

Secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) threatened Wednesday to begin an open hunger strike in protest of being denied family visits by Israel's prison service.

The left-leaning party's Ahmad Saadat is serving a 30-year sentence in Israeli jails and has been deprived of family visits for two years, lawyer Ashraf al-Khatib of the Palestinian committee of prisoners' affairs said.

Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency is expected to extend a current ban on visits for six more months from June 18.

Currently held in Gilboa prison, Saadat has been in Israeli custody since March 2006, when Israeli forces detained him from a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho and put him on trial for allegedly masterminding the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.

He was charged in 2008 for heading an "illegal terrorist organization."

The majority of Palestinian political organizations are considered illegal by Israel, including those that make up the PLO, and association with such parties is often used as grounds for imprisonment, according to prisoners' rights group Addameer. Saadat was appointed secretary-general in October 2001 after his predecessor was assassinated in his Ramallah office by Israeli forces. more

Gaza residents: Israeli forces shoot, injure 1, detain 4 fishermen

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) – Israeli forces continued near-daily incursions into the Gaza Strip Wednesday morning, shooting and injuring one east of Khan Younis and detaining four fishermen off the coast of Gaza City.

Residents of the village of Khuzaa east of Khan Younis said that forces in Israeli watchtowers across the borders with Gaza opened fire at a Palestinian farmer because he came close to the border fence.

The 22-year-old man was in a moderate condition after being shot in the stomach, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not have immediate information on the shooting.

Separately, Israeli naval forces detained four Gazan fishermen off the coast of Gaza City after obstructing and confiscating their boat, fishermen told Ma'an.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that two fishing vessels deviated from the designated fishing zone Wednesday morning. When the vessels failed to respond to warning shots fired into the air by Israeli naval forces, the forces escorted the vessels back to the shore, she added.

Noting multiple alleged attempts of weapons smuggling via boat into the Gaza Strip in recent months, the spokeswoman emphasized that every deviation from the designated zone is considered a security threat. more