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Shalit’s father denies hunger strike reports

JTA

December 5, 2011 | 6:13 pm

Gilad Shalit, left, stands with his father Noam at Tel Nof air base in central Israel on Oct. 18. Photo by REUTERS/Ariel Hermoni/IDF

Gilad Shalit, left, stands with his father Noam at Tel Nof air base in central Israel on Oct. 18. Photo by REUTERS/Ariel Hermoni/IDF

The father of Gilad Shalit denied reports that his son went on a hunger strike toward the end of his captivity.

“He was in such a deteriorated physical state that they had to connect him to an IV,” Noam Shalit said at a journalism conference in Eilat, according to Haaretz. “It wasn’t the result of a hunger strike but of an array of factors having to do with the conditions of his imprisonment, such as a years-long lack of daylight.”

On Sunday, Yediot Achronot reported that the captive Israeli soldier had gone on a hunger strike while in Hamas captivity in order to push for his release. The Israeli newspaper reported that Shalit’s malnutrition advanced prospects for a deal by making Hamas officials fear for his life. The report was widely cited by other media outlets.

Noam Shalit also spoke about the conditions his son faced during his more than five years in captivity.

“It wasn’t a picnic in the first part, but the treatment bettered with time,” the elder Shalit said. “In 2008 he received a radio and listened to Israel Radio, Army Radio and Radio South. He knew of our activity, which goes to show the role of radio is far from over in the 21st century.”

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