Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
blamed the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on Tuesday for the death of a security prisoner suffering from terminal cancer.
"The Palestinian presidency holds the government of Netanyahu responsible for the martyrdom of prisoner Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh today in the prisons of the Israeli occupation," Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said in a statement.
Abu Hamdiyeh, 64, who died Tuesday morning at Beersheba's Soroka Medical Center, was a Hamas member
who recruited the terrorist who planned to carry out an attack on a Jerusalem
coffee shop in 2002. That same year, he was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of attempted murder, membership in a terror organization and possession of weapons.
Following his death, Palestinian prisoners began to riot in a number of Israeli prisons, including Ramon, Ketziot, Eshel and Nafha. Abu Hamdiyeh was an inmate at Eshel Prison, which is located in Beersheba.
The Palestinian prisoners banged on cell doors and threw objects. In response, the Israel Prison Service sent extra guards to the jails.
Six guards and three prisoners suffered smoke inhalation during the riots in Ramon Prison. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinians were throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at IDF forces at a number of locations in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The IPS confirmed Abu Hamdiyeh's death, saying it had previously begun a process for his early release due to his deteriorating condition.
"This morning at Soroka hospital, a security prisoner called Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh who was suffering from cancer, died," an IPS statement said, confirming he had been jailed since 2002 on charges of attempted murder.
"The prisoner was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in February and was under the medical supervision of experts at the hospital.
"About a week ago, after being diagnosed as terminal, the ISP appealed to the release committee to secure his early release, a process which had been begun but not yet concluded," it said.
Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe accused Israel of medical negligence and demanded an international investigation of Abu Hamdiyeh's death.
Qaraqe described the death as a "heinous and dangerous crime that was deliberately committed as a result of medical negligence."
Hamas terrorists in Gaza called on the coastal enclave's residents to hold processions in protest of Abu Hamdiyeh's death.
Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi
(United List Ta'al), who was aware of the request for Abu Hamdiyeh's early release, said the government bears the "legal and moral responsibility for his death. The authorities refused to release Abu Hamdiyeh even after he underwent chemotherapy. Israeli (governments) used to release Jewish prisoners on medical grounds when they had a cough, but in this case someone decided to seal (Abu Hamdiyeh's) fate."
About a month and a half ago, 29-year-old Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat
died at Megiddo Prison. The IPS said he died of cardiac arrest, but the Palestinians claimed he was tortured.
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