Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade, announced today that its leader, Ismail Haniya, is holding talks with officials from the governments of Egypt and Qatar to mediate to end the “offensive in Gaza” launched by Israel.

The Israeli Air Force launched strikes on the enclave on Tuesday in retaliation for the firing of some thirty rockets by Palestinian militants following the death of an inmate in an Israeli prison after nearly ninety days of hunger strike.

Hader Adnan, 45, a figure in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement – an organization that Israel and its Western allies describe as “terrorist” – died on Tuesday morning. According to a Palestinian prisoners’ union, he was the first inmate to die after a hunger strike. He began this protest on February 5 and, according to Israeli authorities, refused to undergo medical tests or receive medical care.

He had been imprisoned at least 12 times by the Israeli authorities, remained in custody for about eight years, mostly under the measure of “administrative detention”, and had repeatedly gone on hunger strikes. It became a symbol for the Palestinians.