Special Forces Break Up Hamas Prisoner Plot, Hunger Strike on

YERUSHALAYIM -
A security guard seen by the light rail in Yerushalayim. A Palestinian teen carrying a knife was arrested at a station on the route on Thursday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A security guard seen by the light rail in Yerushalayim. A Palestinian teen carrying a knife was arrested at a station on the route on Thursday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

A terrorist attack planned from inside a prison in the Negev was thwarted this week by security forces, triggering a hunger strike by prisoners, according to media reports on Thursday.

Members of the “Masada” special forces unit stormed into Nafha Prison earlier this week, acting on intelligence that the mostly Hamas terrorists held there were planning a revolt from within the prison. The Masada unit, serving in the Israel Prison Services, specializes in non-lethal methods for extraction and riot control, Arutz Sheva said.

The terrorists involved in the plot were subsequently dispersed among several prisons in Israel. For similar security reasons, all terrorists in the Eshel Prison have been transferred to the Ohalei Keidar Detention Center. Some were moved to Hadarim prison, where tough regulations make it hard for inmates to communicate with Hamas on the outside. Some of those implicated were sent to solitary confinement.

More than 250 Palestinian prisoners responded to the crackdown with a hunger strike on Thursday, Haaretz said.

A search of the inmates’ quarters after the raid yielded communication devices and other intelligence materials.

A senior Prisons Service official told The Times of Israel that the tensions began to rise late last year, when a network for smuggling cellphones into Nafha was uncovered.

Prison authorities then imposed tougher measures to stop the smuggling, including separation of the facility’s two wings housing Hamas members, to prevent contacts between the two. Prisoners retaliated with organized disobedience, refusing to return to their cells after recreation time, blocking guards from entering certain parts of the prison.

In an unrelated security incident on Thursday, security guards arrested a person behaving suspiciously standing near the light rail station on Herzl Boulevard in Yerushalayim.

The guards found a concealed knife in his possession, and the 17-year old, who had entered Israel illegally, was taken into custody for questioning.