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Israel-Palestine war: Second Palestinian dies in Israeli prison in two days

Israel prison authority says the prisoner had recently been detained in the West Bank
Palestinians demonstrate in front of the Israeli Ofer prison near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on 12 July 2021 (AFP)
Palestinians demonstrate in front of Israel's Ofer prison near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on 12 July 2021 (AFP)

A 25-year-old Palestinian detainee died in Israel's Ofer prison on Tuesday, the prison authority said. He was the second prisoner to die in detention since Monday.

The Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission identified the prisoner as Arafat Hamdan from the town of Beit Sira, in the northern occupied West Bank. Hamdan was arrested on Sunday.

Israel has conducted a mass arrest campaign across the West Bank since 7 October, when Palestinian fighters launched a surprise land, air and sea attack on southern Israel, killing around 1,400 Israelis. 

Israeli authorities earlier said that the prisoner had felt unwell and was transferred to the prison's clinic for tests, "where the doctor declared his death".

"The occupation has begun a systematic assassination operation against prisoners amid a total aggression campaign against our people," the Commission said.

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A day earlier, Palestinian prisoner Omar Darghmeh, who Hamas claimed as a member, died in prison under unclear circumstances.

Israel said Darghmeh had died due to health reasons, but Palestinians have rejected the claim, saying he died due to torture. 

Daraghmeh was detained with his son in the West Bank on 9 October.

The prisoners' deaths come as Israel has increased its crackdown on Palestinian prisoners since the start of the war.

Prison authorities have implemented a series of punitive measures that have seen detainees confined to their cells, with no access to courtyards, electronic devices, and family and lawyer visits. 

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club and prisoners' testimonies reported that detainees are also being subjected to daily severe beatings, intimidation, raids, and the damaging or confiscation of belongings. 

Prison authorities have closed down the food store, and inmates are limited to two meals a day, with decreased portions.

The Prisoners' Club spokesperson, Amani Sarhana, told Middle East Eye that the prisoners are currently going through one of the most "difficult and cruel periods" as they endure isolation, oppression, and starvation.

"Medical treatment has also been halted. We are no longer talking about prisoners being subjected to medical negligence, but rather about cutting off their treatment completely," Sarhana said.

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