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Islamic Jihad official: Kidnapping Israeli soldiers is the only way to release prisoners

“Khaled Al-Batsh, a senior official in the Islamic Jihad, emphasized that the kidnapping of [Israeli] soldiers is the only way to release prisoners. He noted that all prisoner release deals in recent years were achieved by kidnapping soldiers.
At a Friday sermon held in front of the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza, Al-Batsh said: ‘The struggle with the enemy will remain open thanks to the prisoners’ stomachs and their hunger strike, the attacks of the Martyrdom-seekers (i.e., suicide bombers) and the resolve of the besieged in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jerusalem, Acre and Haifa, until it ends favorably for our people, who possess the right [to the land]…’ He added: ‘We won’t get anything from the enemy except through [prisoner] exchange deals, and we won’t obtain Palestine without sacrifice.’”

Notes: Al-Batsh's statement was issued the day after Israeli students Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the West Bank. The boys' bodies were found by Israeli security forces near Hebron on June 30, 2014. They appeared to have been shot to death soon after the abduction.

On April 24, 2014, 120 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons on administrative detention began a hunger strike. They were eventually joined by 180 more inmates. 75 participants required hospitalization. The hunger strike ended on June 25, 2014.

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