Palestinians protest after hunger-striker Khader Adnan’s death in Israeli jail

A prominent Palestinian militant died on Tuesday (May 2) in Israeli custody after an 87-day hunger strike, authorities said, the first such fatality in more than three decades, and tensions around Gaza soared as his Islamic Jihad faction swore revenge.

Khader Adnan, who was awaiting trial, was found unconscious in his cell and taken to a hospital, where he was declared dead after efforts to revive him, Israel’s Prisons Service said. He had previously refused the service’s medical care, it added.

His wife, Randa Musa, called for a peaceful response, saying in an interview with Reuters: “We don’t want to see any bloodshed.”

Since 2011, Adnan had conducted at least three hunger strikes in protest at detentions without charges by Israel. The tactic has been used by other Palestinian prisoners, sometimes en masse, but the last hunger-striker who succumbed was in 1992.

A lawyer for Adnan accused Israel of medical negligence.

Adnan, 45, was from Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Islamic Jihad has a limited West Bank presence, but is the second most powerful armed group in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

According to the Palestinian Prisoners Association, Adnan had been arrested by Israel 12 times, spending around eight years in prison, mostly under so-called “administrative detention” – or detention without charges.