Disturbances in Two Israeli Jails Following Death of Palestinian Prisoner

Security prisoners bang on doors, shake bars after death in hospital of Aziz Awisat, while he was being treated for a heart condition

An inmate at Eshel Prison, near Be'er Sheva (illustrative).
Tomer Appelbaum

Palestinian security prisoners caused disturbances at two southern Israeli prisons on Sunday night after a fellow prisoner died in hospital while being treated for a heart condition.

The death of Aziz Awisat, 53, was announced by the Israel Prison Service, which beefed up its forces in the Eshel prison in case of rioting. On Sunday evening, security prisoners in both Eshel and another prison near Be’er Sheva, Ktziot, were reportedly shaking their bars, banging doors and shouting in protest.

Two weeks ago, Awisat was indicted for aggravated assault after allegedly attacking a prison guard with a kettle and pouring boiling water on him, causing burns to the victim’s upper torso.

The prisoner was being treated at Assaf Harofeh Hospital, Tzrifin, when he died on Sunday.

Awisat, of Jabal Mukkaber in East Jerusalem, had been sentenced to 30 years in December 2014 after a plea bargain in which he confessed to 10 counts of attempted murder.

His crimes included injuring an ultra-Orthodox Jew with an ax by the Western Wall and severing gas pipelines in several Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, in the hope of causing deadly explosions.

The police said he wanted revenge for events on Temple Mount, where Jews were accused of trying to disturb the status quo at the site (which is holy to both Jews and Muslims), and Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza that summer.