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Palestinian resistance to make utmost effort to release prisoners: Hamas

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Gazans stage a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in Gaza City on October 5, 2021. (Photo by Anadolu Agency)

Hamas says the Palestinian resistance movement will make utmost effort to free Palestinian prisoners in the Israeli regime’s jails as the critical issue is on the top of the movement’s agenda.

“The issue of the prisoners stands on the top of the resistance’s priorities, and our mind will not rest until our prisoners obtain freedom,” Hamas said in a press statement on Monday, adding that the movement will make all efforts to release Palestinians jailed in the Israeli occupied territories.

The resistance movement stressed that the release of captured Israeli soldiers in the besieged Gaza Strip would “have no price other than the release of Palestinian prisoners.”

Hamas said it will soon enter a new prisoner swap agreement after forcing Israel to succumb to the demands of the resistance, noting the regime has no choice but to meet those demands.

It also said the Israeli regime needs to "stop prevarication and tell its audience that the exchange deal is the only agreement that can bring back the Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza."

Hamas is reportedly holding captive at least four Israeli soldiers. The movement says it will not give information about them until Israel releases all Palestinian prisoners.

The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the resistance movement, published pictures of the Israeli prisoners on its Twitter account last week and said they "will not see the light until our prisoners see freedom."

Palestinian prisoners have been subjected to systematic torture, harassment and repression all through the years of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) keeps Palestinian prisoners in deplorable conditions lacking proper hygienic standards.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences. Israeli forces have arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000.

‘More Israeli soldiers to be arrested if demands not met’

Also on Monday, a high-ranking Islamic Jihad official said the resistance group will not leave the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jail alone, and that Israeli prisoners will be kept in captivity until all Palestinian prisoners are released.

"We will not leave our prisoners, and we will not accept the continuation of the abusive measures against them by the prison administration, and we will not allow the prison administration to single out the prisoners," said Khaled al-Batsh, a member of the Gaza-based resistance group’s Politburo.

Batsh warned that there will be "more arrests" if the regime refuses to release all Palestine’s life prisoners and not meet the resistance’s demands.

The Islamic Jihad official said the Israeli regime is trying to “take revenge on all prisoners in all prisons," adding that prisoners of all factions will join the prisoners' strike. 

Calling on Palestinians to start activities to pressure the occupation to stop the abusive measures against the prisoners, Batsh said, “Streets in the West Bank must be closed to the movement of settlers so that they know that there are thousands of prisoners in prisons.”

Over 250 Islamic Jihad detainees began an open-ended hunger strike last week to protest the prison's "abusive measures" against them.

Early in September, six Palestinian prisoners, mainly affiliated with the Islamic Jihad Movement, escaped the Israeli Gilboa maximum security prison but were rearrested two weeks later.

Earlier on Sunday, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)'s Commission for Prisoners Affairs said that the Israeli prison administration is escalating its procedures against the six prisoners.

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