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Hamas says Israel has suspended family visits for Gaza prisoners tied to the group

June 29, 2017 3:23 P.M. (Updated: July 4, 2017 11:18 A.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Hamas movement claimed on Thursday that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) had decided to suspend family visitations for Hamas-affiliated prisoners from the besieged Gaza Strip.

An IPS spokesperson declined to comment on the matter to Ma’an.

A committee of Hamas-affiliated prisoners detained by Israel said the decision, which it said was effective until further notice, was considered by the Palestinian movement to be a “declaration of war” against Hamas.

The group added in its statement that it would respond to the Israeli decision, without elaborating.

According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, some 6,200 Palestinians, 320 of whom were Gaza residents with different political affiliations, were imprisoned by Israel as of May.

Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners staged a 40-day hunger strike earlier this year to denounce the infringement of their basic human rights in Israeli custody, in which they notably demanded the reinstatement of family visits facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to twice a month.

In conjunction with the Palestinian Authority (PA), ICRC acceded to the prisoners’ demands, almost a year after it had reduced visits to once monthly.

While Palestinian officials and leaders of the hunger strike declared victory at the end of the strike, IPS has repeatedly denied that it negotiated with the prisoners or acceded to any of their demands.
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