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Israel-held Palestinian journalist ends 94-day hunger strike

Mohammed al-Qiq has agreed to stop going without food and will likely be freed on May 21. He has been held without trial in Israel since November for alleged "terror activity" in support of Hamas.

Qiq's family and supporters declared victory against Israel on Friday as they confirmed that the 33-year-old reporter for Saudi television channel Al-Majd was

to end his 94-day hunger strike.

"The determination of the detained journalist Mohammed al-Qiq has won," his wife Fayha Shalash told reporters, adding that she planned to visit with him as minerals were administered intravenously later in the day.

"He forced the Israeli forces to take this step and put an end for his administrative detention," she said. "It was terrifying ... these three months, and I think that this victory will be, Inshallah, (God willing) a new beginning for our life."

Qiq began his strike on November 25 to win release from administrative detention, which

permits Israeli authorities to keep some prisoners in custody without charge

for an indefinite amount of time.

Connection to Hamas?

Israel claimed Qiq has connections to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza. He was detained in November on suspicion of "terror activity."

He has also been jailed on three previous occasions: once for a month in 2003, once for 13 months in 2004, and once for 16 months in 2008.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club, an NGO that has been supporting his case, said on Friday that Qiq had won a deal that will see him released within three months, in return for ending his self-imposed fast.

Protest in support of journalist Mohammed al-Qeq

The journalist's case has received international attention

"An agreement has been reached under which his administrative detention will end on May 21 and will not be renewed," the group said.

Release confusion

But the Israeli army was less categorical regarding his release.

"He will continue to remain in custody until May 21, 2016," the army said in a statement. "On that date, the situation will be examined to determine whether there is new information or security circumstances which require extending detention."

Israel's Supreme Court officially suspended the internment order against Qiq on February 4 but ordered him confined to hospital. He has refused all treatment unless he is released and was

reportedly in serious condition.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club said the deal announced Friday stipulates that Qiq will continue to be treated in hospital until his release.

Last week, the United Nations, the European Union and several rights groups expressed concern about his state of health and called for his immediate release.

Friday's deal comes as Israel struggles to combat five months of near-daily Palestinian attacks that have killed 28 Israelis. At the same time, 166 Palestinians were killed, most of them attackers, the rest died in clashes with troops.

mm/sms (AFP, AP)

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