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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Ramallah - Tel Aviv - Kifah Zboun and Asharq Al-Awsat

PA Accuses Israel of Assassinating Adnan, Islamic Jihad Vows Vengeance

A vigil in front of the Church of the Nativity to condemn the death of Khader Adnan in Israeli prisons (Wafa)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has accused Israel of assassinating the prisoner Khader Adnan, one of the most prominent leaders of Islamic Jihad.

Adnan, 44, died in his prison on Tuesday after a long hunger strike that lasted 87 days.

The Israeli Prison Service said in a statement announcing his death that he had been on hunger strike since his arrest on Feb. 5.

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir decided to close the cells and prevent the movement of Palestinian prisoners to "prevent riots."

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the "heinous crime," saying the Israeli government is fully responsible for the death of Adnan.

The Ministry announced that it would submit the file of this crime to the International Criminal Court.

The Arab League condemned the crime of the death of Adnan, saying Israel is fully responsible.

Meanwhile, the wife of Adnan, Randa Musa, held a press conference in Araba town, near Jenin, saying the family will receive well-wishers because Adnan's martyrdom brings them pride and honor.

"We do not want the weapons not used to free the Sheikh (Adnan) to be used after his death. We do not want to see any bloodshed," she announced.

In a will written on Apr. 2, Adnan urged the Palestinian people not to "despair no matter the occupier's actions, regardless of the extent of their escalation in their occupation, aggression, oppression, and transgression."

In his will, he asked his family |not to allow the occupier” to carry out an autopsy on his body.

Physicians for Human Rights in Israel said that its doctors visited Adnan and were concerned about his severe and life-threatening health condition, asserting the need to transfer him immediately to a hospital.

Israeli rights group B'Tselem described the hunger strike of Khader Adnan as "a form of non-violent protest against his arrest and the injustices of the occupation."

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offered its condolences to Adnan's family and called on Israel to release his body so his loved ones "can mourn and arrange a dignified burial."

In a statement, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Association, Qadri Abu Bakr, confirmed that the authority submitted an urgent request not to carry out an autopsy on Adnan's body, indicating that there was no date for handing over his body yet.

Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Movement Ziyad al-Nakhala said in a statement that Israel will pay the price for its crime. Hamas also threatened to respond.

On Tuesday, Israeli tanks bombed a site east of Gaza in response to rockets fired from the Strip after the death of Adnan.

The Israeli army said that at least 22 rockets were fired from Gaza, and it responded, downing four while the other 16 fell in open areas.

The al-Quds Brigades, the military arm of Jihad, declared a state of alert among its fighters, and the movement's officials canceled their travel outside the Gaza Strip to join the meeting of the movement's political bureau.

The Israeli army officially canceled pre-planned maneuvers around the Gaza Strip and alerted the Strip's borders for fear of attacks following the death of Adnan.

Elior Levy, a Palestinian Affairs Correspondent and Analyst for Kan Channel, tweeted that it was a "problematic morning for Israel," considering Adnan as a symbol of Palestinian steadfastness and resistance to Israeli detention. He noted that Islamic Jihad could be preparing for a response.

However, it is believed in Israel that Jihad is not ready to enter a round of fighting alone, without Hamas, which will avoid entering into battle but will not prevent the factions from firing rockets.

Meanwhile, gunmen attacked a settler vehicle near Tulkarm, injuring several. The armed groups that launched the attack vowed to escalate in the West Bank as revenge for Adnan.

The prisons witnessed unprecedented tensions and confrontations, and the Supreme Emergency Committee for Palestinian Prisoners Affairs declared a state of alert until the crime was reciprocated.

The national and Islamic forces declared a comprehensive strike in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Jerusalem, organized angry vigils, and opened funeral homes in the main cities. Universities and schools were closed, and lawyers suspended their work before the Palestinian and Israeli courts.

The Palestinian Authority demanded the formation of an international commission of inquiry into the circumstances of Adnan's execution, as the Israeli authorities transferred his body and the security services began discussing handing over his body to his family.

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