Neighbors save prisons officer from grenade attack

IPS oficer: "The IPS sees this as a very serious attempt to threaten and even to injure this officer and his family."

Alert neighbors prevented a Prison Services officer from opening his door to a waiting grenade on Tuesday morning. Ch.-Warder Emil Salah was apparently at home with his family when criminal elements left the explosive on his doorstep. Salah, who currently serves at the intelligence officer at the Ohalei Keidar Prison was about to open the door to his Beersheba apartment when his neighbors, who had noticed the device, yelled to him not to open the door. At the same time, the neighbors called the police, and a bomb squad was dispatched to the building. IPS officials described the incident as "an attempt to injure a staff member" although investigators said that the positioning of the grenade indicated that it was placed to intimidate and not necessarily to wound. The grenade was an IDF-issue device, and investigators believe that it was left there overnight. The officer and his family, including his children, were at home when the assailants left the grenade on the doorstep of the apartment. Investigators discovered that the nighttime visitor or visitors had also spray-painted a slogan on the wall near the door. "The IPS sees this as a very serious attempt to threaten and even to injure this officer and his family," said an IPS officer, adding that they had a short list of criminals who had a specific interest in injuring the officer. For at least the near future, Salah's home will be guarded by police and IPS forces. Ohalei Keidar Chief Warden Asst.-Cmdr. Rina Harel said that the attack was likely tied to Salah's particular position, which includes gathering damaging information against prisoners. Ohalei Keidar is a relatively small prison, with around 1,000 prisoners. Around 50 percent of the prisoners are convicted criminals, and the rest are jailed for security-related offenses. Several crime family heads and "footsoldiers" are currently being held at the facility. Also overnight Monday, a grenade was thrown at car parked on Tel Aviv's Rehov Natan. Police and firefighters came to the scene following reports of a vehicle fire, and only after the fire was extinguished did they find that the fire had been started by an explosive device. Tel Aviv police were investigating the incident.