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Palestinian prisoners stage hunger strike

April 3, 2013 at 7:48 AM

JERUSALEM, April 3 (UPI) -- Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails refused breakfast Wednesday to protest the death from cancer of a fellow inmate, prison officials said.

They began a three-day hunger strike on Tuesday after learning of the death of 63-year-old Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh who was serving a life sentence for his role in a thwarted 2002 plot to blow up a Jerusalem restaurant, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Hamdiyeh's body will be turned over to the Palestinian Authority for burial in his hometown of Hebron Thursday after an autopsy has been conducted in Tel Aviv.

Palestinian and Arab doctors will be present at the autopsy, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported.

News of Hamdiyeh's death sparked clashes in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Israeli prisons.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli government refused efforts to get Hamdiyeh released from prison so he could get proper treatment for his cancer.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian Authority of seeking to use Hamdiyeh's death to spark confrontation.

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