GAZA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Islamic Hamas movement on Monday gave Israel a 24-hour ultimatum to respond to the demands of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners who have been going on a hunger strike for 16 consecutive days in Israeli jails.
The warning was made by Abu Obeida, the masked spokesman of al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, in a short speech aired on the Gaza-based Hamas satellite television of al-Aqsa.
"We give Israel 24 hours to respond to the prisoners' demand, and if it didn't, then we will add 30 new prisoners to the list of prisoners, who will be demanded to be released in any upcoming prisoners' swap deal," said Abu Obeida.
In April 17, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners launched a gradual open-ended hunger strike in all Israeli prisons, jails and detention camps. In Israel, there are around 7,000 Palestinian and Arab prisoners, including women and children.
"Al-Qassam Brigades will oblige the enemy to pay a price for everyday it delays a response to the prisoners' just and humanitarian requirements," said Abu Obeida.
Earlier, Hamas organized rallies in Gaza city, where thousands of its supporters took to the streets waving Hamas green flags and chanted slogans that supported the striking prisoners.
In the rally, the movement's supporters also slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him for increasing the tight restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Abbas had warned that he will take unprecedented measures against Hamas if it doesn't hand over the Gaza Strip to his power.