Senior Israeli Prison Officer Targeted in Car Bomb

No one was injured ■ unclear if the intention to hurt or kill the officer, or just to send a threatening message

Josh Breiner
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The warden's car after the explosion, October 7, 2018
The warden's car after the explosion, October 7, 2018Credit:
Josh Breiner

A bomb blew up the car of an Israel Prison Service officer on Sunday night. No casualties ensued but the car, which had been parked by her house on Ben Avi Boulevard in Netanya, was destroyed. The bomb caused considerable damage around the vehicle as well.

The prison officer is in charge of the criminal prisoners' division at Rimonim Prison (as opposed to "security prisoners"). Among the people incarcerated there are kingpins of the Israeli criminal scene.

Following the blast, forces of both the police and prison service arrived at the officer's home, to evaluate the incident itself and its implications. 

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It was unlcear whether there was intention to hurt or kill the officer, or just to send a threatening message, possibly courtesy of one of the prisoners under her command. 

Officers in the Prison Service commented that this was one of the most serious incidents in recent years. Inmates have been known to threaten wardens but planting an explosive in an officer's car is a new level, they say. Extra security will be provided to the officer and her home, the sources added.

In 1981 the commander of the Ramle Prison, Roni Nitzan, was murdered by an escaped prisoner, Herzl Avitan. In 1998, the chief medical officer of the Prison Service, Yaakov Zigelbaum., was murdered – also by a bomb planted in his car, which exploded while he was driving to work.

Sharon Shoan, head of the Prison Service operations branch, said they assume the attack is related to the officer's work at the Rimonim prison, and said they had beefed up her security. "Contending with threats on the staff is part of the job," Shoan said. "Rimonim Prison confines some of the leaders of crime families and criminals sentenced to long periods for extremely serious crimes. They don't always like our decisions."