The number of Palestinians prisoners taking part in a hunger strike to obtain better conditions in Israeli jails has increased to 1,350, Israeli officials said Monday dpa reported
A group of 150 prisoners have joined some 1,200 others already on strike since last week, Israel Prison Service (IPS) spokeswoman Sivan Weizman told dpa.
Israeli prisons have been plagued by hunger strikes since the winter, when a detainee of the radical Islamic Jihad movement, Khader Adnan, survived without food for 66 days and succeeded in advancing his release date by three weeks.
A handful of others quickly followed his example, but last week it became a mass phenomenon when 1,200 joined - launching their action on Tuesday's annual Palestinian Prisoners Day.
The protesters are demanding a series of concessions, including an end to searches of visiting family members, an end to the use of solitary confinment, and an end to administrative detention - a provision that allows Israel to jail suspect militants for extendable periods of six months, without trial and based on classified intelligence information shown only to a military judge.
Also on Monday, an Israeli military court rejected a petition filed by a Palestinian lawyer against the detention of the two longest-serving hunger strikers - Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 34, who has not been eating since late February.
Both are members of the Islamic Jihad movement held in administrative detention.
Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) have warned about their condition.
"Day 56 of a hunger strike is very bad, very very bad, even if they get infusions and are under medical supervision," PHRI Prisoners and Detainees Department Director Anat Litvin told dpa.
"It is really, really life threatening. According to the World Health Association, death can occur between day 42-75."
She said PHRI had again petitioned an Israeli district court near Tel Aviv, demanding the IPS allow its independent doctor to visit the two.
"Both are deteriorating and both began to lose hair," she said. Their attorney, Jamil Khatib, visited them last week and reported to PHRI Monday.