Ketziot Inmates: Wardens Acting Provocatively, as Before Deadly Riot

Ketziot prisoners: Wardens' searches blatant provocation during mourning period for inmate killed in riots.

Inmates at Ketziot Prison fear that the Israel Prison Service is planning to break into their tents again, three days after a similar incident led to clashes and to the death of one prisoner, Mohammed al-Ashkar.

A prisoner at Ketziot told Haaretz that a few officers from the IPS Nahshon Unit were walking around the tents of the Negev prison at around 7 P.M. yesterday, accompanied by dogs. The prisoners considered the presence of the officers a clear provocation, as the inmates are still mourning the death of their fellow detainee.

According to Maj.-Gen. Eli Gavison, head of the IPS Southern District, Ashkar's death was caused by a small bag filled with pellets fired by IPS officers. Prison Commissioner Benny Kaniak appointed a committee of inquiry to investigate the incident.

According to the prisoner, as soon as the officers arrived, representatives of the inmates told the prison administrators that they will resist any attempt by the officers to go into their tents, at any price.

The prisoners say that the Monday morning raid of their tents was in violation of an agreement between them and the administrators, whereby no searches would be conducted at night by IPS officers who were not regular staff members at the prison.

The prisoner told Haaretz that the officers left after about 20 minutes, but tensions in the residency tents are still running high.

About 1,000 prisoners were involved in the riot on Monday, which began as a search for weapons and information about possible escape schemes in the wing holding prisoners convicted of terror activity.

The Palestinian Authority denounced what it called on Israeli assault against Palestinian prisoners, and claimed that the IPS used clubs, gas grenades and rubber bullets against the inmates. It put the number of injured inmates at about 50, compared with 15 according to Israeli sources.