Northern Ireland news

Republican hunger strike called off

Dr Issam Hijjawi has ended his hunger strike

A hunger strike involving more than 40 republican prisoners has been called off after Palestinian doctor Issam Hijjawi was removed from isolation yesterday.

The fast was launched almost two weeks ago in support of Dr Hijjawi, who is currently being held in the Co Antrim prison.

The 62-year-old began refusing food on September 16 after being isolated for two weeks on his return from an outside hospital following an MRI scan. The authorities said his isolation was in accordance with standard coronavirus procedures.

He had wanted to be transferred to the prison's Roe House, where the majority of republican prisoners are currently held.

Republicans say he was taken to the republican landing yesterday morning.

The Palestinian is one of ten people arrested as part of an MI5 operation targeting the 'IRA', also known as the New IRA, last month.

Around 20 inmates at Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim and 23 in Portlaoise Prison in Co Laois had been refusing food since earlier this month in support of Dr Hijjawi.

The were later joined last week by three female prisoners being held at Hydebank Wood College and Women's Prison.

In a statement the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association confirmed the hunger strike was now over.

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