A general strike also took place in the occupied West Bank to mourn Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan, 44, from the town of Arraba, south of Jenin.
Israeli authorities announced at dawn on Tuesday that Adnan had died in his cell in Nitzan prison. He had been refusing to eat in protest over his continued detention without charge since Feb. 5.
On hearing the news, Palestinian factions in Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Jerusalem announced a comprehensive strike and blamed the Israelis for his death. Shops remained closed and many students were sent home from school.
Palestinian medical sources reported that rubber-coated metal bullets, fired by Israeli forces, injured five Palestinians while dozens of others inhaled tear gas from shells lobbed by troops.
Marchers demanded that Israel be held accountable for its crimes against Palestinian prisoners.
In a message to Israeli authorities, Adnan’s wife said: “Save the faces of my children well, and you will see from my children what you did not see from Khader Adnan.”
The Palestinian Authority also condemned Adnan’s death and demanded that the Israelis hand over his body to his family so that he could be buried in his hometown.
Palestinian groups accused the Israelis of medical negligence, claiming Adnan should have been transferred to a civilian hospital.
The Commission for Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs revealed that an autopsy was to be carried out on Adnan’s body.
Israeli jails were put on heightened alert in anticipation of a backlash from Palestinian prisoners.
Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir said any inmates trying to hunger strike or riot would have penalties imposed on their rights and services.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described Adnan’s death as the “assassination” of a fighter who was one of the most prominent prisoners “who launched the battles of hunger strikes in rejection of administrative detention.”
Hamas said it held the Israeli government fully responsible for Adnan’s passing.
Adnan was arrested 12 times and spent around eight years in Israeli prisons, most of the time under administrative detention.
Qadri Abu Bakr, head of the Commission for Detainees and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs, told Arab News that Ben-Gvir had admitted to issuing instructions not to provide any hunger-striking prisoner with food or the necessities of life, adding that it would join a long list of Israeli crimes to be reported to the International Criminal Court.
He said: “The international community must bear its responsibility. Had it not been for the continuous American and European support to the occupying power, it would not have gone so far.”
Qaddoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, told Arab News that Israel wanted to use Adnan’s case as a deterrent against other Palestinian prisoners.
There are currently around 4,900 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, including women, sick and elderly people, and children.
Bethlehem Gov. Kamel Hamid, said: “We feel the overwhelming anger, horror, and shock over the occupation’s crime of the assassination of Adnan. It’s a deliberate killing. The people and the leadership lost a fighter.”
Mahmoud Al-Aloul, deputy head of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, said Adnan’s death would be “added to the record of the occupation’s crimes.”