GAZA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The Hamas movement said on Thursday that it was informed by Israeli authorities that Palestinian families of Gaza prisoners jailed in Israel are banned from prison visits for now.
The Supreme Hamas Prisoners' Corporation said that Israel's Prison Service informed it that those Palestinian families should wait "until a further notice."
Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, slammed the Israeli decision as an act of war on the movement, vowing it will prevent Israel from implementing the ban at any cost, according to a manifesto published on the Hamas official site.
Abdlrahman Shaded, head of Hamas-affiliated media office, said in a press statement that the Israeli decision came as a way to exert pressure on Hamas, as demanded by families of the Israeli soldiers captured by the movement.
"The decision came as a response to the Israeli captivated soldiers' families who call to punish Hamas prisoners inside the Israeli jails," Shaded stated.
He held Israeli government and its prison service responsible for any deterioration or expected escalation of situation inside the Israeli prisons as result of this decision.
Issa Qaraqee, chairman of the detainees in Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was't officially informed by the Israelis on banning family visits of prisoners in Israeli jails.
Palestinian prisoners had held a hunger strike last April for 41 days, demanding for reforming family visits, improving their living conditions, and addressing issues linked to treatment of women, children, and sick prisoners.
Qaraqee said the hunger strike, led by Merwan Barghouthi, a member of the Central Committee of PNA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, ended after Israel satisfied 80 percent of the prisoners' demands.
Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, announced a year ago that four Israeli soldiers were held captive in the Gaza strip.
Last February, it said it received an offer of a new prisoner exchange deal with Israel, but adding that the offer did not meet its minimum demands in terms of the number and formula of the exchange.