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Report: Israeli police prepare for Jerusalem protests

Feb. 22, 2013 11:32 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 22, 2013 8:49 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli police are increasing manpower in East Jerusalem ahead of anticipated protests in support of Palestinian hunger strikers, Israeli media reported Friday.

The Israeli news site Ynet said police would deploy at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City amid growing protests in solidarity with Samer Issawi, a resident of Jerusalem who has been on hunger strike in Israeli prison for 205 days.

Issawi and three other prisoners on hunger strike have been the focus of intensified clashes with Israeli forces throughout the West Bank.

On Thursday, an Israeli court sentenced Issawi to eight months, back-dated to his arrest, for leaving Jerusalem in violation of the terms of his release under an Oct. 2011 prisoner exchange.

Israeli military judicial authority is also trying to cancel Issawi's amnesty and force him to serve the remaining 20 years of his previous sentence.

"This decision (by the civilian court) does not change (Issawi's) situation and doesn't mean that he will be released in March," Qadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Reuters.

An Israeli security source said the hunger strike protests were themselves a violation of the prisoners' terms of release.

"The use of hunger strikes by prisoners is a clear violation of the commitment signed by the prisoners' leadership, both inside and outside prison, in May 2011," said the source, who declined to be identified.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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