February 25, 2013 - 1:00am

The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) announced Monday that a majority of the Palestinian security prisoners held in Israel ended their symbolic 24-hour hunger.

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners launched the hunger strike Sunday over the death of an inmate, Arafat Jaradat who died in the northern Meggido prison Saturday.

The service also noted that there are still 1,100 prisoners on hunger strike at the prison.

Jaradat, 30, died less than a week following his arrest. According to Israeli officials, initial results of the autopsy showed that he had suffered a heart attack during his incarceration. However, Palestinian officials suggested that his death was a result of violence from the Israeli security forces.

The Israeli Health Ministry said in a statement Sunday evening that the autopsy could not conclusively determine the cause of death of Jaradat and mentioned two broken ribs who they said were marks of the attempts to resuscitate him.

His attorney, Kamil Sabbagh, said that his client told an Israeli judge during a court hearing Thursday that he wasn' t feeling well, complaining of back pains. The judge ordered a prison doctor to examine Jaradat.

The Shin Bet Security Agency said in a statement that following his complaint, he was examined by a prison doctor who found no evident medical problems. He collapsed in his cell Saturday.

In the past week, tensions escalated in the West Bank as thousands of Palestinians protested in solidarity with four Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, calling for their immediate release.

Military officials have summoned consultations due to the growing tensions in the West Bank preparing for a possibility of an armed uprising in the Palestinian territories.

Security forces in Israel were spread across the West Bank in advance of Jaradat' s funeral held Monday noon near Hebron.

Several of the hunger-striking prisoners have been hospitalized "as a precaution" , according to IPS officials. "If their condition takes a turn for the worse, no one could blame us," one official told the Ynet news website.

There are about 4,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons at present time, a sensitive topic among Palestinian nationals who view them as heroes fighting the Israeli occupation and wait upon their release.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017