New Hamas leader Ismail Haniya pledged support for hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners on Monday in his first public appearance since being elected as head of the movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
Haniya, who was elected as the new political chief of Hamas on Saturday, said the movement stands with the hundreds of prisoners on hunger strikes in Israeli jails.
“It’s my honour to shoulder the responsibility of leading the political bureau of this large movement of holy resistance,” he said in his first comment.
"Your freedom is a national duty and your dignity is our dignity," Haniya added.
Hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails have been on a hunger strike since April 17.
The strike is being led by Marwan Barghouti, a senior member of Fatah, a rival political faction of Hamas.
Israeli authorities put the current figure at 860 hunger strikers, while Palestinian officials say 1,500 have been participating.
The prisoners issued a list of demands including better medical services, family visits and more dignified detention conditions.