Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Promise ‘Repercussions’ as Terror Prisoners on Hunger Strike

The entrance to the Ofer Prison. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Terrorist prisoners at Ofer Prison are on a hunger strike. After riots in the prison Monday, dozens of prisoners went without dinner Monday and breakfast Tuesday, Yediot Acharonot reported. The riots broke out Monday in response to surprise mass inspections conducted Sunday night by prison personnel. Prisoners set one of the cells on fire, and two prison guards were lightly injured from smoke inhalation.

The inspections Monday were conducted at the same time on dozens of cells of security prisoners suspected of harboring contraband, to prevent attempts by prisoners to hide the items. Among the items confiscated were cellphones, SIM cards, knives and even explosives.

Prisoners who were found with contraband were punished, with some put into isolation. Most of the prisoners found with contraband were terrorists belonging to Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Prison officials said that the riots appeared to be connected to a power struggle in Islamic Jihad, but any prisoners participating in the unrest would be punished.

The prison riots set off demonstrations Monday in Beit Lechem, Chevron, Shechem and Gaza. Many of the prisoners are members of Islamic Jihad, which urged the prisoners to “resist the terrorist attacks” of prison officials searching for weapons and cellphones. Hamas called the searches “a very serious act that will have repercussions. The prisoners in Ofer Prison are not alone, and the coming hours will prove this,” the terror group said.

Earlier Monday, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan released details of a new plan that entails making conditions much harsher for terrorist prisoners. Among the steps to be taken is ending the separation between Hamas and Fatah prisoners, cutting allowances for terrorist prisoners in half, a ban on cooking in prison wards, limiting water available for prisoners, and eliminating the position of unit spokesperson throughout the prison.

Overnight Monday, security officials said they arrested six wanted security suspects in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.