Saturday, 6 June 2015

Khader Adnan in 'critical condition' as hunger strike continues

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The health of prisoner Khader Adnan has reached critical condition as he enters his 35th day of hunger strike, head of the Palestinian Authority Prisoner's Affairs Committee said Saturday.

Adnan, who staged one of the longest hunger strikes in history in 2012, is showing sharp weight loss and low heart rate as a result of his ongoing protest of being held in Israeli prison under administrative detention, PA offical Issa Qaraqe said.

Adnan, a father of six children, was detained on July 8, 2014 and sentenced to administrative detention for the 10th time in his life.

Palestinians held in administrative detention can be held without charge or trial for months or years, and are denied access to the evidence that led to their detention.

In an open letter released last month, Adnan wrote that the goal of his strike is to resist Israel and prevent it from tarnishing the achievement of prisoners who secured their freedom by going on hunger strikes in the past, only to be rearrested by military forces.

Qaraqe held the Israeli government responsible for Adnan's deteriorating health, demanding an end to Israel's use of administrative detention, a policy he says is enacted excessively, in contravention to international and humanitarian laws which stipulate the practice be used only in extenuating circumstances. more

Egypt court throws out terrorist classification of Hamas

CAIRO (AFP) -- An Egyptian appeals court on Saturday quashed a February decision by another tribunal branding Hamas a "terrorist" group, a court official said.

The decision comes as relations between Cairo and Hamas have deteriorated since the 2013 ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi by Egypt's then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Egyptian authorities have accused both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of backing militants who have carried out deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula that borders the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The court offical told AFP Saturday that the earlier ruling labeling Hamas as a "terrorist" group was thrown out because the court that issued it was not "competent" to make such verdicts.

Hamas issued a brief statement in response Saturday saying that the new ruling corrects "a wrong decision."

"Hamas welcomes the Egyptian court's decision," it added.

The ruling, initially made in February, came after Egyptian lawyer Samir Sabri filed a lawsuit against Hamas, saying it was behind attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had planned them.

Sabri petitioned the court to classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation, however in March the government appealed against the ruling.

The Islamist movement had strongly condemned the February verdict -- which came just one month after another court had also ruled Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, a "terrorist group." more

Israeli navy attacks fishing boats in Gaza waters

Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Saturday morning, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters. Soldiers open fire on farmers in different areas.

Media sources said the navy attacked Palestinian fishing boats in the al-Waha area, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, in addition to Zawayda and Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

The attacks led to damage but no injuries; the fishers had to sail to shore to avoid further Israeli violations and assaults. more

Hamas organizes protest against unity government, UNRWA

Hamas, on Friday, organized a march in Jabaliya refugee camp, in the northern Gaza Strip, to protest the national unity government's alleged neglect of the coastal enclave, as well as policies of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

According to Ma'an News Agency, the march set off from mosques across the refugee camp following Friday prayers, and ended at a home destroyed during last summer's Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Hamas leader Muhammad Abu Askar said before the march that that while the unity government had been formed to serve all Palestinians, one year on the situation in Gaza is continuing to worsen.

"Hamdallah's government prevented employment in Gaza, and today UNRWA has stopped hiring and is shrinking its services for refugees and those who were affected by the war."

UNWRA, the largest service provider for refugees in the Gaza Strip, announced in February that it had been forced to stop a cash assistance program for tens of thousands of Palestinians to make repairs to damaged and destroyed homes due to a lack of donor funding. more

Hamas fighter killed in Gaza tunnel collapse

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A member of Hamas' military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, died on Friday while working in a tunnel to be used for military activities, Hamas said.

Issam Omar al-Kattani, from the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, died while working inside a "resistance tunnel," the brigades said in a statement, without adding any further details.

A member of Hamas' politburo, Khalil al-Hayya, said at al-Kattani's funeral procession that the "soldiers of al-Qassam brigades will continue to build more tunnels which have become the greatest weapon to defeat the occupation."

A spokesman for the Gaza health ministry told AFP that two others were "moderately injured" in the tunnel collapse. more