Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Authority's commission for prisoners, said 1,380 prisoners were to start the strike on Friday in protest of their detention conditions.

People gather with signs for a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on September 14, 2021.
People gather with signs for a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on September 14, 2021. (AFP)

Almost 1,400 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are to go on hunger strike in protest of their detention conditions since a jailbreak last week, the Palestinian Authority said.

Tensions have been running high since six inmates staged a dramatic escape from a high-security jail in northern Israel on September 6, via a tunnel dug under a sink. Four of them have since been recaptured.

Hundreds of their fellow inmates were transferred to other jails and personal items confiscated in searches carried out by guards, according to the Palestinian Prisoners' Club.

Angry prisoners started fires in several jails.

"The situation is very bad in the prisons, that's why they're going on hunger strike," Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Palestinian Authority's commission for prisoners, told AFP.

READ MORE: Israeli police capture four of six Palestinian prison escapees

 No progress in talks

He said 1,380 prisoners – of more than 4,000 Palestinians held in Israeli jails – were to start the strike on Friday, to be joined by other inmates next week.

Abu Bakr added that talks between the Israeli prison authorities and prisoner representatives had made no progress so far.

The Red Cross has said Israel has decided to allow visits to prisoners, after they were suspended last week.

But Abu Bakr expressed concern over the fate of the four escapees, whom the Red Cross has not been allowed to visit.

Palestinian lawyer Khaled Mahjana told AFP he would meet two of the four – Yacoub Qadri and Mohammad Arda – on Tuesday evening.

Abu Bakr also expressed fears for the health of another recaptured fugitive, Zakaria Zubeidi, after social media reports said he had been sent to the hospital.

Prison authorities said on Monday that he was still in custody and had not been hospitalised.

READ MORE: Israel detains relatives of Palestinian escapees in 'mafia-style tactic'

Source: AFP