2,000 Palestinian prisoners join hunger strike

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian officials says around 2,000 prisoners being held by Israel have joined a hunger strike demanding better conditions behind bars.

Kadoura Fares, who heads a prisoners' rights group, says the prisoners joined the strike overnight Tuesday -- in addition to some 200 people who have refused to eat for the past two weeks.

Fares says the prisoners are seeking an end to the solitary confinement of 20 imprisoned leaders. They are also demanding that Israel allow prisoners to take university courses and give them access to Arab TV channels.

Israel's prisons authority says the numbers are exaggerated and only 240 prisoners have been striking.

Israel holds some 5,300 Palestinian prisoners. Their crimes range from stone throwing to masterminding militant attacks.