PFLP says it will respond if leader’s health deteriorates

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October 17, 2011

Palestinians participate in a protest in support of Ahmed Saadat, jailed leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 25, 2008. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan)

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — PFLP central committee member Jamil Mizhir warned on Monday that the movement will take action against Israel if the health of their imprisoned leader deteriorates.

Ahmad Saadat is on hunger strike as part of a mass prisoner protest against worsening Israeli prison policies launched on Sept. 27. The Popular Front leader had been held in solitary confinement for three years.

Mizhir said in a statement that the group blamed Israel for his health condition, after receiving reports that Saadat had been transferred to hospital.

“If Saadat’s condition is at risk, the PFLP response will be very harsh,” Mizhir warned.

The PFLP official said the deal agreed last week for the release of over 1,000 prisoners in exchange for captured soldier Gilad Shalit will push the movement to continue resistance to eventually free all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail.

Mizhir said the group was concerned about Saadat and expressed support for the hunger strikers.

Prisoners have refused food for 21 days to protest harsher conditions since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to toughen measures in June to pressure Hamas to free Shalit.

Rights group Addameer called on Thursday for the international community to relaunch efforts to end what it called “collective punishment” of prisoners, as Shalit was set to be freed.

Recent estimates from the Palestinian Authority say there are currently 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails.

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