Red Cross fears for Palestinian hunger striker in Israel

It’s the second marathon hunger strike for Adnan, a 36-year-old senior activist in the militant Islamic Jihad group

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A prominent Palestinian detainee who has been on a hunger strike for 48 days faces an “immediate risk” of death, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday, urging Israel to allow his family to visit in line with international conventions.

The appeal in the case of Khader Adnan comes as Israel is pushing legislation that would allow force-feeding of detainees. The bill, endorsed by the Cabinet last week, is opposed by the Israeli Medical Association, whose president has denounced the practice as a form of torture.

It’s the second marathon hunger strike for Adnan, a 36-year-old senior activist in the militant Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank who has been held by Israel without charges for almost a year. In a previous stint in administrative detention in 2012, Adnan went on a 66-day fast to press for his freedom, sparking weekslong hunger strikes by hundreds of Palestinian detainees.

The detainees eventually halted their hunger strikes amid promises by Israel that it would curb administration detentions.

At the end of April, 396 Palestinians were held in administrative detention, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which publishes official figures from Israel’s Prison Authority. After a sharp drop in 2012, the number of administrative detainees has been rising again over the past year to monthly levels ranging from 363 to 473 people held without charges.

Islamic Jihad is a group that has been responsible for deadly attacks on Israelis. Last year, Adnan was given six months of administrative detention, followed by a four-month extension. When he received another four-month extension, he launched his hunger strike.

The Red Cross said Tuesday that he is in critical condition and asked Israel to allow family visits, as guaranteed by the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Sivan Weizman of the Prison Authority said Adnan is under medical supervision at an Israeli hospital. She declined comment on his condition. She said three more detainees have begun hunger strikes over the past two weeks.

Also Tuesday, the Israeli military said a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip hit an open area in southern Israel. No injuries or damage were reported, the military said.

Rocket fire has mostly subsided since last summer’s war between Hamas and Israel but there has been some occasionally.

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