Israeli jails on alert over risk of Hamas prisoner riots

“The fire will spread to all prisons,” Hamas warned, protesting new security procedures set by the Israel Prison Service.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israel Prison Service (IPS) raised its level of alert in the security wings of several jails due to Hamas’s calls for disturbances.

Hamas is protesting recent decisions made by the Israeli government, which made it “clear” to them that “the occupation government has declared war on us through IPS elements.”

A major issue opposed by the terrorist organization is Israel’s recent Cabinet decision to withhold funds that the Palestinian Authority (PA) uses to pay stipends to attackers and their families from taxes Israel collects on the PA’s behalf.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas vowed that his “pay for slay” policy was a red line and Ramallah would find a way to continue paying the prisoners.

Hamas is also fuming about the recent wardens’ inspections in Ketziot prison that have uncovered the smuggling of illegal cell phones, enabling inmates to continue directing terror attacks long-distance. The IPS also installed, on a trial basis, a system that screens calls in both Ketziot and Rimon Prisons, which would prevent inmates from using unauthorized phones.

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Hamas flyers said the new regulations constitute “the harshest attack on us in years. They’ve declared war on us; we won’t leave Ketziot by themselves in the campaign. The fire will spread to all prisons.”

Calling on their followers to support the inmates, they stated, “If we are to die – let us die as heroes.”

The IPS is preparing for attempts to destroy prison property and possible assaults on its staff, similar to the riots that took place last month in Ofer Prison. During and after a search for contraband items, security prisoners set fire to mattresses and attacked guards, six of whom required hospital care.

In early January, Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced a number of changes to the prison conditions of terrorists while keeping minimum standards set by international law.

Water usage, for example, would be restricted. Erdan accused the security prisoners of purposely using excessively large amounts of water, “five times the amount of the average Israeli citizen,” in order to cause harm to the country amid the water shortage.