African migrants attack guards at prison

Second incident of unrest this week at facility for asylum seekers detained under the anti-infiltrators law amendment.

African migrants protest deportations 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
African migrants protest deportations 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
A group of African migrants attacked an officer and two other guards, one of them female, at the tent city section of the Saharonim detention facility on Tuesday, leaving three guards lightly hurt, the Prisons Service reported on Tuesday.
According to Prisons Service spokeswoman Sivan Weitzman, while guards were distributing packages brought by visitors, one detainee who said he didn’t receive an item he was expecting, punched the commander of the tent city section of the detention center.
When other officers came to assist the commander they were swarmed by a group of around 20 other detainees who began attacking them, Weitzman said.
The detainees were eventually subdued and the three lightly wounded officers were treated at the scene.
The incident was the second time in two days that the facility has made the news.
On Sunday, the Prisons Service reported that over the weekend a group of 340 migrants from Block 7 of the detention center refused to return to their cells and remained in a prison yard, saying that they were being held illegally in the detention center and must be released.
By Sunday, Prisons Service officers were able to remove them from the yard and return them to their cells.
The protesters were African migrants who had been detained in the facility indefinitely under the amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law (1954) that went into effect last summer. It allows the state to jail people who enter the country illegally for three years or longer.
Weitzman said that such incidents are commonplace at all of the prisons across Israel, and that the Prisons Service does not see them as out of the ordinary for a facility holding large numbers of people. She added that the Prisons Service has not decided to beef up security or make any other personnel or policy changes in response to the events of this week.