JERUSALEM - Israel’s High Court on Wednesday suspended a detention-without-trial order on hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allan but said he must remain in hospital pending a decision on his future.

“Due to the petitioner’s medical condition he will remain in intensive care,” said the ruling, seen by AFP. “This means that for now, owing to the hunger striker’s medical condition, the administrative detention order is no longer operative.”

The case of Allan, 31, whose two-month hunger strike has put his life at risk, has put intense pressure on Israeli authorities, who have detained him without charge since November and fear that his death in Israeli custody could further fan the flames of Palestinian unrest. Allan regained consciousness on Tuesday after being in a coma for several days, but pledged to resume fasting if Israel did not resolve his case within 24 hours. It was unclear if he had done so.

The court said that for now he should be treated like other hospital patients. “His family and friends will be able to visit him, not as a prisoner, subject to the usual medical instructions on visiting the sick,” the ruling said. “After his condition stabilises, if Allan asks to be moved to another hospital he is to apply to the authorities and in the case of difficulty or disagreement it will be possible to turn to the court,” it added.

The 31-year-old Islamic Jihad activist’s case is being monitored closely by opposing sides in an Israeli-Palestinian conflict that could boil over in new violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and from the Gaza Strip if he dies.

Before Wednesday’s court session got under way, Allan’s lawyers said that in return for an end to the strike, Israel had pledged not to renew his six-month detention period, meaning he would go free on Nov 3.

The hospital said Allan’s condition had deteriorated since he was brought out of sedation on Tuesday. His attorneys said he did not respond to the proposal, in which Israel dropped a demand that he agree to be exiled for four years in exchange for his release, an offer he had previously rejected. In court, a government lawyer said Israel was prepared to free Allan immediately if a scan carried out while court was in session showed that he had suffered irreversible brain damage and subsequently no longer posed a security threat.

Asked about the results of the test, a spokeswoman for the Barzilai hospital said she could not give details because of patient confidentiality. On Tuesday Allan instructed medical staff to halt intravenous treatment, but then agreed vitamins could be administered in the run-up to the court hearing. Allan had told doctors that unless a solution was found to his plight within 24 hours “he would stop taking anything including vitamins and water,” one of his lawyers said.

The Israeli government sees his hunger strike as a powerful challenge against “administrative detention”, a practice that has drawn criticism from Palestinians and human rights groups but which Israel calls necessary for its national security. It fears his unconditional release would only encourage some 370 other Palestinian detainees held without charge to refuse food. Allan’s case was originally seen as a possible test of Israel’s new force-feeding law, which the country’s medical association has condemned as a violation of ethics and international conventions. But doctors have said that option is no longer viable due to his grave condition.

Eight soldiers killed in SE Turkey bomb attack (11a)

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in a bomb attack on their vehicle by Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey on Wednesday, the military said, intensifying conflict after the breakdown of a two-year ceasefire last month.

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants planted explosives on a highway in the province of Siirt and detonated them around 1110 GMT, the general staff said in a statement, as security forces clashed with the PKK across the mainly Kurdish southeast.

Security sources said PKK fighters had killed four Turkish soldiers in clashes in Diyarbakir province since Tuesday as a peace process launched by the state and the group’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan in 2012 unravelled. Separately, police detained four mayors from an affiliate party of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in two districts of Diyarbakir over recent statements declaring autonomy from Ankara, the party said.

The conflict comes amid heightened political uncertainty in Turkey, which appears to be heading for a snap election after the collapse of coalition talks. The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, launched its insurgency against the state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.