A Hamas leader warned Israel on Friday there would be consequences if any of the Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners on hunger strike dies in jail.
“You must realize that the hunger strike isn't a party, and we could be surprised by the death of some of them,” the leader, Khalil al-Haya, was quoted by AFP as having said at a solidarity tent for the strikers in Gaza City.
He added, “If that happens, you can expect both the expected and the unexpected from us.”
“We are summoned to ready armies to free our prisoners... We have the means to mobilize and for combat,” Haya said.
Two terrorist prisoners, Bilal Diab, 27, and Tha'er Halahla, 34, have been on a hunger strike for 66 days. Diab was incarcerated on August 17, 2011, and Halahla was jailed on June 29, 2010.
They have been joined on a mass hunger strike by at least 1,550 PA Arab prisoners, the bulk of whom began refusing food on April 17.
In a tactic for United Nations sympathy, the PA said this week that the prisoners' hunger strike is a humanitarian disaster.
Hamas’ supreme leader Khaled Mashaal said Sunday that the Arab League has agreed to bring the issue to the United Nations.
The Islamic Jihad group has threatened to no longer observe a truce with Israel if one of the hunger-strikers dies, while Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has called for another Intifada aimed at supporting the hunger strikers.
AFP reported that rallies in solidarity with the prisoners were staged on Friday, with around 2,000 gathering in Ramallah.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)