Prisoners in Ofer jail (archive)
Prisoners in Ofer jail (archive)Israel news photo: Flash 90

A fire broke out in cells holding Arab security prisoners at the Ma'asiyahu prison in central Israel Thursday morning, with prisoners blocking guards from entering cells to put the fires out. The guards managed to break into the cells and douse the flames.

At least three prisoners were badly injured, suffering burns and other injuries, while 5 others sustained moderate to light injuries. Magen David Adom crews treated the injured, and several were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. It's not clear how the fire began, but prison officials said that the prisoners did try to block prison officials from entering the cells. An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, prison officials said.

In addition to the incident at Ma'asiyahu, a fire broke out on a bus transporting prisoners from jails in southern Israel to prisons in the center and north of the country. As the bus was en route in the Kfar Sava area, guards noticed smoke rising in the back of the bus, and immediately directed the bus to Hadarim prison, which is in the area. There, prisoners were put in holding cells as workers put out a fire that had been burning in the back of the bus. Several prisoners were taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava for treatment of burns and smoke inhalation.

An investigation has been opened into that incident, as well. Officials said that they believed that the bus fire was caused by a problem with the bus, and was not part of an escape attempt.