Palestinian prisoners set fire to cells

Fatah detainees were injured protesting the PA's refusal to release them.

prisoner 88 (photo credit: )
prisoner 88
(photo credit: )
Seven Fatah detainees who are being held in a Palestinian Authority prison in Jericho were injured on Tuesday after setting fire to their cells and other installations. The detainees, who belong to Fatah's armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, were protesting against the PA's refusal to release them from prison. The PA recently released several members of Islamic Jihad who were also being held without trial in the Jericho lock-up. The Fatah detainees were brought to Jericho from various parts of the West Bank after being told by the PA that their lives were at stake because the Israeli security forces were searching for them. Fatah officials said at least 18 members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades were being held in the prison. They said some of them set fire to mattresses and other installations inside the prison to protest against the PA's failure to release them. "We're being held in very difficult conditions and without trial," one of the detainees told The Jerusalem Post by phone. "Two weeks ago the Palestinian Authority released 45 members of Islamic Jihad. There's no reason why we too should not be allowed to return home." The detainee, who was lightly injured in the blaze, said Tuesday's protest was designed to send a warning message to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Interior Minister Nasser Youssef [who is in charge of security]. He added that some of the detainees swallowed razors during the protest, but none required hospitalization. PA security officials told the Post that the detainees were all members of the Palestinian security forces who were being held in detention for breaking the law. They said 12 of the detainees were expected to be released within the next few days. In an unrelated development, Fatah legislator Issa Qaraqe visited Jericho prison on Tuesday where he met with Ahmed Sa'dat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who is suspected of masterminding the assassination of former Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi. Qaraqe called for the release of Sa'dat and other PFLP detainees who were involved in the assassination. Sa'dat's group on Monday agreed "in principle" to join a Hamas-led coalition.