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Israel cancels family visits for Hamas prisoners

ISRAEL CANCELS FAMILY VISITS FOR HAMAS PRISONERS

Israeli authorities on Thursday decided to cancel family visits for Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails until further notice, according to a local Palestinian NGO.

The "surprising" decision of the Israel Prison Service "comes in the context of pressure upon Hamas movement," Palestinian Prisoners Media Center said in a statement.

"It also comes in response to calls from the families of Israeli soldiers captured by Hamas in Gaza," it added.

According to the statement, this punishment may represent the first in a series of sanctions to be imposed by the Israeli Prison Service against Hamas prisoners in the coming period.

Hamas's senior leadership in Israeli prisons, for its part, condemned the Israeli decision. "We completely reject the Israeli punishment," it said.

"We consider this punishment a beginning of a war against the prisoners of the [Hamas] movement and will not allow it to pass," it added.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners' Affairs, more than 6,500 Palestinians, 350 of whom are from the Gaza Strip, are currently under custody at detention facilities throughout Israel.

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