hamed - Tomer Appelbaum - October 12 2011
Ibrahim Hamed Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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Ibrahim Hamed, a senior Hamas member serving multiple life sentences in an Israeli prison, has begun an open-ended hunger strike in protest at his solitary confinement, the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners' Club said on Sunday.

Prominent Palestinian detainees Marwan Barghouthi and Ahmed Saadat have reportedly declared their intention to join the hunger strike in solidarity with Hamed, according to the Palestine News Network.

In all, some 200 Palestinians prisoners spread across several Israeli jails are expected to fast in solidarity with Hamed, taking turns to go without food for limited periods.

Israel Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weizman was quoted as saying that Hamed had refused two meals by early Sunday afternoon.

Hamed, she said, was placed in isolation three months ago "on suspicion of involvement in forbidden activity."

Hamed is serving 54 life terms, the second longest sentences ever given to a Palestinian detainee, after being convicted by a military court of ordering the killing of dozens of Israelis and wounding hundreds.

A widespread hunger strike of some 1,550 Palestinians prisoners ended in May 2012, in exchange for a package of measures that included the transfer of detainees out of solitary confinement. The Palestinians maintain that Hamed's continuing solitary confinement violates that agreement.