GAZA, July 2 (KUNA) -- Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Ashkelon prison, south of Israel, continued their hunger strike for the second day in a row in protest of Friday attacks by Isaeli prison forces.
Local radio stations reported on Saturday that "Nahshon and Metzada units of Israeli Prison Service raided the jail, firing tear-gas canisters and beating detainees with batons and hoses." Following this attack, the inmates decided to go on a three-day hunger strike which started yesterday, to protest against the Israeli repressive policy against them.
This repressive policy came after the collapse of negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement to exchange prisoners.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on June 23 that he had instructed the Israeli Prison Service to toughen conditions for Palestinian detainees to pressure Hamas to release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
In a statement released to the media, Ashkelon prisoners described the attack as "barbaric and vicious." "The Israeli Prison Service went too far in committing these violations and repressive policy that has been witnessed in the prisons of Ashkelon, Ramon and Ohali Kidar," the statement went on.
"It is the beginning of a war to defend ourselves, our dignity, and our rights as detainees," the Palestinian prisoners said defiantly in the statement, adding that "solitary confinements, tougher procedures and strip searches will never intimidate us." The Palestinian prisoners demanded the support of Palestinian people and authorities to stop these aggressive procedures against them, the statement concluded. (end) mzt.nfm KUNA 021040 Jul 11NNNN