More rocket fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip erupted Tuesday, following news of the death of Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa, a 45-year-old Palestinian prisoner who was a leader of the Islamic Jihad. He died after an 86-day hunger strike in Israeli jails and is said to be the first Palestinian prisoner to die of a long-term hunger strike.
At least three on the Israeli side have been injured after an initial barrage of 22 rockets was fired from the Gaza Strip, setting off air raid sirens across southern Israel. Four of the projectiles were reported intercepted by anti-air defence systems. Israel has responded with tank fire, and further escalation in strikes on the strip is likely. Later into the evening, Israeli officials and media tallied over 30 rockets fired. Gaza militants are vowing further retaliation for their “martyr”.
The “Joint Command of Resistance Groups”, which makes up multiple militant factions operating in Gaza, has vowed more action to come, stating that the first wave of rockets was a “first response”. Protests have broken out in the West Bank, including in the large town of Ramallah, putting already high tensions with the Israeli military and police further on edge.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called the death of Khader Adnan a “deliberate assassination”. He had been arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank for alleged security-related crimes. Shtayyeh blamed Israel for his death “by rejecting his request for his release, neglecting him medically and keeping him in his cell, despite the seriousness of his health condition,” according to a statement.
Based on the latest description of the deteriorating situation in The Associated Press, things are teetering on the brink of a possible new outbreak of large-scale clashes between Palestinians and Israeli authorities, including in prisons where thousands of Palestinians are held, sometimes without charges.
International reports say Adnan had been arrested 12 times and spent a total of eight years in Israeli prisons, with most of that time having been spent in administrative detention, meaning he was held without trial. Israel has defended the controversial practice of raiding West Bank homes and then holding people without trial as necessary to root out dangerous militants who pose a threat to Israeli security.