One Palestinian Authority prisoner was critically wounded and dozens others injured early Monday morning in a riot by inmates at the Ketziot security prison along the Israeli-Egyptian border.
The melee began at approximately 2:00 a.m. during a routine search for weapons by a group of guards in one of the tents temporarily housing prisoners in the yard. Convicted Arab terrorists in the prison began hurling rocks and onions at the guards.They also torched 10 of the tents housing the prisoners.
In an interview with Israel National News, a spokeswoman for the Israel Prisons Authority stressed “it was a routine search. There was nothing unusual about it and the guards always go in a group. They search both the security prisoners and the convicted criminals.
Fifteen prisoners and 15 guards were injured in the riot, including one PA prisoner in critical condition as well as three prisoners and one guard with light to moderate wounds. All five were transported to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. The rest of the prisoners and guards were lightly wounded and treated by medics at the scene.
Officials estimate that almost a thousand prisoners were involved in the riot, which took Prison Services personnel almost an hour to quell.
Prisoners claimed the violence was sparked by the use of unnecessary force by the guards. “There was nothing unusual about the way this search was carried out,” reiterated the spokeswoman in response.
Media was refused access to the facility and no photos of the damage were allowed.
PA Prisoners Minister Ashraf al-Ajarmi blamed Israel for the incident, saying “instead of cooperation and the release of thousands of prisoners, we get dozens of injured ones [instead].”
Ketziot prison is the largest in Israel. Most of the approximately 2,500 prisoners are Arabs serving time for terrorist activity.