IPS jailer stabbed as Hamas threatens 'revenge' for female prisoners

An IPS staff member was stabbed in an apparent retaliation to alleged mistreatment of female Palestinian prisoners.

 A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
A guard is seen at an observation tower along a wall of Gilboa Prison, from where six Palestinian prisoners escaped, on September 6.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

A Prison Service (IPS) staff member was stabbed in Nafkha Prison on Monday afternoon, as Hamas threatened to respond to the alleged mistreatment of female Palestinian prisoners in the past week, according to Palestinian reports.

The IPS reported that a staff member was lightly wounded after being attacked in the wing holding Hamas prisoners. According to the IPS, the wing is under control.

The Palestinian Asra Media Office, which focuses on Palestinian prisoners, reported after the incident that there was a state of tension in all prisons holding Palestinian prisoners and a state of alert among the prisoners.

Palestinian media claimed that a “major crackdown” was being carried out against prisoners in the Nafkha Prison, with a number of Hamas prisoners being transferred to isolation. The Palestinian Commission of Detainees warned that Israel bears “full responsibility” for any deterioration of the situation. The Asra Media Office warned of a “systematic campaign of repression and new crimes against the prisoners.”

Hamas welcomed the stabbing attack, calling it a “natural response to the escalation faced by the female prisoners.” The movement warned Israel against “continuing its crimes against female prisoners.”

 Shank used in stabbing of IPS jailer at Nafkha Prison, December 20, 2021 (credit: ISRAEL PRISON SERVICE) Shank used in stabbing of IPS jailer at Nafkha Prison, December 20, 2021 (credit: ISRAEL PRISON SERVICE)

The stabbing was conducted by a prisoner from the Gaza Strip as retaliation for the alleged mistreatment of female Palestinian prisoners at Damon Prison in recent days, according to Palestinian reports.

In recent days, Palestinian media has claimed that since last Tuesday, female Palestinian prisoners at Damon have been subjected to abuse and mistreatment, including beatings and being placed in isolation.

On Monday, the Asra Media Office reported that an understanding had been reached with the IPS, with the isolated prisoners being removed from isolation and measures allegedly implemented in recent days being halted.

Despite the move, tensions with Palestinian prisoners continued on Monday, with the supreme leadership body of Hamas prisoners claiming that the move by Israel was just to “cover up the ugly acts” and prevent a reaction within and outside prisons.

The leadership body warned against what it called the IPS’s attempt to “mislead public opinion,” saying the matter was greater than just the return of prisoners from isolation since the “dignity” of the prisoners was insulted. The body called for a “reaction equal to the scale of the offense and assault.”

Hamas official Mushir al-Masri told Al-Aqsa Radio on Monday that the mistreatment of female prisoners was a “red line,” saying “revenge comes for the prisoners from Gaza, as revenge came for Jerusalem in the battle of the Sword of Jerusalem” – the Gaza factions’ name for Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Hamas official Zaher Jabarin told the Palestinian Shehab News Agency that the movement had informed Egypt that the beating of female prisoners would not go unpunished and that if any “red lines” were crossed it would have “repercussions on the region.”

The Asra Media Office for its part claimed that the understandings with the IPS were announced before the “circumstances of the crime” were revealed, saying that they had stopped discussions with the IPS as they prepared a response and that “the battle” had not ended.

The Prisoners’ Committee in the Islamic and National Forces declared a “state of emergency and general alert” during a press conference in Gaza City on Monday afternoon.

The committee called for a “day of rage” in support of female prisoners to be held on Friday. It also called for a “direct confrontation” with Israel.