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Thread: Israelis Storm Palestinian Prison

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Israelis Storm Palestinian Prison

    Israelis storm Palestinian prison


    Israeli troops have raided a prison in Jericho in the West Bank, demolishing buildings and killing at least one Palestinian guard.

    They are trying to seize a jailed militant leader blamed for killing an Israeli minister in 2001. The leader, Ahmed Saadat, is refusing to surrender.

    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has condemned UK and US prison monitors for withdrawing shortly before the raid.

    The raid sparked protests and revenge abductions across Palestinian areas.

    A BBC correspondent at the prison says there has been Israeli tank and helicopter fire on the jail.

    An Israeli bulldozer could be seen demolishing walls outside the prison where a number of Palestinian guards and prisoners including Mr Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, are still holed up.

    An Israeli army spokesman said 182 people had been taken from the prison and were being questioned, including 26 wounded.

    It is not known how many of those were prisoners or guards, or how many people are left in the compound. Reports range from between 30 to 80 people.

    In the wave of Palestinian unrest that followed the Israeli raid in Jericho:
    • The director of International Red Cross in Gaza was kidnapped by gunmen
    • Two French members of the Medecins du Monde charity in Gaza were also seized
    • Two Australian teachers were abducted by militants from a school in northern Gaza
    • A British Council cultural centre in Gaza was set ablaze and an EU compound stormed
    • Palestinian militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Gaza City warned US and UK nationals to leave the Palestinian territories immediately
    • Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated against the Israeli raid and the alleged complicity of western governments throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
    Mr Saadat remained defiant, saying in telephone interviews to the media that he would rather die than surrender to Israeli forces.

    "The occupation are planning a massacre in the Jericho complex. There is shelling from all angles and destroying the prison from all sides," he told the BBC Arabic Service.

    He said two of his colleagues had been killed, although this cannot be confirmed independently.

    Under a 2002 deal with Israel, Mr Saadat was guarded by British and US prison monitors, in addition to Palestinian jailers, but the foreigners were withdrawn shortly before the raid for what they described as "security reasons".

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the raid and said the US and UK monitors were responsible for the prisoners' safety, calling their withdrawal a grave violation of agreements with the Palestinians.

    British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the PA had ignored repeated British requests for guarantees regarding the security of the prison guards.

    The UK Foreign Office warned against travel to the Palestinian territories and urged all British nationals without proper security to leave.

    Israeli troops are reported to have threatened to kill the prisoners if they do not surrender.

    Reports from the scene said 50 jeeps, three tanks, and an armoured bulldozer pushed into the oasis town in the Jordan valley, as two helicopters hovered overhead.

    Surrendering guards and prisoners were strip-searched by the Israeli troops outside the compound, where they were filmed by TV crews.

    Mr Saadat was arrested in connection with the killing of right-wing Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi by PFLP gunmen in 2001, an attack which itself was to avenge the assassination of Mr Saadat's predecessor by Israel.

    Mr Saadat has been in Palestinian custody since early in 2002 - and was moved to Jericho under international supervision in a deal to lift Israel's siege of Yasser Arafat's Muqataa compound in May of that year.

    The following month the Palestinian High Court ordered his release, saying there was no evidence to link him to the Zeevi assassination.

    Israeli officials said Mr Saadat would be killed if he was freed, and the Palestinian cabinet blocked the release.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Partridge Guest
    British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the PA had ignored repeated British requests for guarantees regarding the security of the prison guards.
    I'm sorry.... what? The PA is supposed to know that the IDF is going to invade the prison??? It's not like they had advance knowledge or anything... unlike, say, the British.

    That said, the kidnapping of foriegners by the militants is fucking stupid and totally counterproductive. Get a clue lads!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Britain and US complicit in Jericho raid, says Abbas

    By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
    Published: 16 March 2006

    Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, condemned the armed Israeli raid on Jericho's prison as an "ugly crime that cannot be forgiven" yesterday and strongly implied Britain and the US had been complicit in it.

    Touring the ruins of the devastated jail less than 24 hours after the surrender of six wanted Palestinians after a day-long siege, Mr Abbas said their arrest had been "illegal" and that the raid by troops, bulldozers and tanks had been a "humiliation for the Palestinian people and a violation of all the agreements".

    The Israeli acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said yesterday that the six men would be indicted according to Israeli law and they will be " punished as they deserve". They comprise the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader, Ahmed Saadat, and five others accused of the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001. They also include Fuad Shobaki, accused of involvement in the Karin A shipment of arms to the Palestinian Authority in 2002.

    In his second uncharacteristically strong denunciation of Britain and the US, Mr Abbas said that the Israeli force had arrived on Tuesday within 10 minutes of the three British monitors abandoning the jail. "I'm giving the facts," he added. "They [the monitors] left at 9.20am and the Israelis came in at 9.30am. How can we explain that?"

    Mr Abbas's remarks came as British officials moved to defend London against widespread and continuing condemnation for facilitating the Israeli raid by ending their 14-strong monitoring mission at the prison on Tuesday morning.

    While acknowledging the two countries' consuls general had written to him on 8 March demanding improved security for their monitors and significant tightening of the regime under which the prisoners were held, Mr Abbas declared: "Britain had informed us a week ago about their intention of pulling out, but they did not say when."

    British sources pointed out the consuls' letter had explicitly warned that, unless their demands were met, the two countries "would withdraw our monitors with immediate effect," and that an unspecified but " serious and credible threat" to the security of the monitoring mission had been issued in January 2006.

    The sources repeated that the British consul general, John Jenkins, had telephoned Mr Abbas's office on four separate occasions last weekend to make sure Mr Abbas had read the letter and understood its importance.

    The threat was in addition to a series of fears about the security of the monitors, including that of a prison break-out, riots inside and outside the prison, the possibility that a threat to kidnap the monitors would be carried out, and that roadside bombs could be used against them as they were against US personnel in Gaza in 2003.

    The concerns expressed in the consuls' letter about security were additional to those about infractions of the 2002 Ramallah agreement, under which the prisoners were held in Jericho and which ranged from the liberal use of mobile telephones by the prisoners to unsanctioned visits numbering up to 90 a week for Mr Saadat and Mr Shobaki.

    The sources acknowledged Israel had expressed increasing impatience with the regime at Jericho after the PFLP claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last year.

    But it also looked increasingly likely yesterday that an additional factor was the embarrassment ­ not to mention potential backlash from Israel ­that the US and the UK might have faced if the mission had still been in place if and when the new Hamas-led Palestinian Authority had carried out its intention to release Mr Saadat.

    While that would have breached the 2002 agreement under which the men were held, Hamas would have argued that Mr Saadat had never been convicted of any charge and that the Palestinian high court had ruled in favour of his release.

    The British, who vigorously deny complicity with Israel over the withdrawal of the monitors, say they told no one of the exact timing withdrawal of the monitors. But Israel was kept informed of the discussions with the Palestinians over the US and UK demand and, with its forces on high alert, were aware of it as soon as they passed through the Jericho checkpoint.

    While some Palestinian ministers have argued the raid was designed to boost Mr Olmert's fortunes, other observers have pointed out that it was gamble since if it had gone wrong ­ or if there are further retaliations before the 28 March elections ­that could help the Likud party at the expense of Mr Olmert's Kadima.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #4
    Partridge Guest
    Palestinian fury at jail raid shows no sign of abating
    The Times

    The last of nine foreign hostages kidnapped in retaliation for Israel's dramatic raid on a Jericho jail were released today, but Palestinian anger that triggered the wave of kidnaps and arson attacks showed little sign of abating. The three hostages - a correspondent from South Korea and two journalists from France - were driven back to Gaza City from a hideout in the south of the territory where they had been held for almost 24 hours. They all appeared to be in good health.

    Anger at yesterday's raid, in which Israeli troops seized Ahmed Saadat, a Palestinian leader wanted in Israel on murder charges, erupted on the streets of Gaza and the volatile West Bank today, where Palestinians called a protest strike and organised demonstrations. Thousands gathered in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron carrying portraits of Mr Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

    Five other prominent Palestinian militant prisoners were also taken into Israeli custody after troops with bulldozers and tanks mounted a ten-hour siege. British and American monitors had left the prison just 20 minutes before, prompting accusations that the US and UK colluded with Israel in the operation.

    The suspicion of collusion led to reprisal attacks against Western missions. The offices of the British Council were among several buildings torched. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, denied that the British colluded with the Israeli army, and said that the British observers had been withdrawn because of mounting fears for their safety. It is believed that the prison was effectively in the control of the PFLP.

    Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, cut short a high-profile tour of Europe to return to deal with the crisis. Before he left he angrily blamed Britain and America for going back on the arrangements under which the prisoners had been held at the prison in Jericho since 2002.

    The raid has underscored the President's lack of control over day to day events in the Palestinian Authority, and cast fresh doubts on his credibility. Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, conceded: "This operation has had a destructive impact on the status of the Palestinian Authority."

    The mood on the streets of the occupied territories was still angry, but some of the rage was now being directed towards Mr Abbas. "There is a lot of anger here but we must remain united among ourselves," said Wissam Rafidi, a PFLP central committee member, who addressed one of the rallies in Ramallah. "It’s clear that the British and Americans told the Palestinian Authority that they were leaving but the PA didn’t tell us. President Abbas must explain what happened and why it happened."

    Israel's action was condemned overseas. Jordan’s King Abdullah II described it as an unfortunate escalation which threatened security in the region. Russia expressed its "profound concern".

    In Israel, however, the capture of Mr Saadat - wanted over the murder of the Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001 - was greeted as a coup for justice.

    The timing was impeccable. Ehud Olmert, the acting Prime Minister who will lead the Kadima Party into a general election in two weeks, enjoyed a slight boost in his popularity ratings for ordering the military raid. The populist Maariv newspaper illustrated its front page with a image of Mr Saadat, blindfolded and handcuffed, beneath the headline "Got 'em!"

    Israeli officials are now determined to put the charismatic PFLP leader and fellow activists on trial for the assassination of Mr Zeevi. Tzipi Livni, the Justice Minister, brushed aside the concerns about possible legal problems with the prosecutions, telling Army Radio: "I have no doubt that they will stay with us for a long time."

    Mr Zeevi, a hardline nationalist who advocated the expulsion of Palestinians from Israeli-controlled territory, was shot dead in the hallway of a Jerusalem hotel in October 2001. The PFLP claimed responsibility.

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