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Report: Palestinian territories

Palestinian national football player ends hunger strike after 92 days

Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

A deal made late last night ended the hunger strike of Mahmoud Sarsak, a player on the Palestinian national football team, who had reached his 92nd day without food.

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The deal means that Sarsak will be freed on 10th July and transferred to a civilian hospital for care tomorrow. He began his hunger strike on 23rd March in order to demand his release, as he had been detained without charge.

Israeli officials had accused Sarsak of being part of the Islamic Jihad militant group based in Gaza, but these charges remain unproven.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

On Monday evening, he ate a piece of chocolate to symbolise an end to his protracted strike, the longest by any Palestinian held by Israel.

He was detained three years ago after trying to cross from Gaza to the West Bank to train with his teammates.

Sarsak was held under the “unlawful combatants law” which permits Israel to detain Palestinians from Gaza indefinitely, without formal charges or a trial.

According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, 4,437 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, 3,094 of whom have been formally charged.”

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