Tensions escalated this afternoon at Israel’s Nafha prison in the southern Negev desert, as reports surfaced of a Palestinian prisoner allegedly stabbing an Israeli officer inside the prison.
Israeli news sites reported that a Palestinian prisoner “attacked an Israeli prison warden with a sharp tool”, causing the warden to suffer a light injury.
Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) “claimed that the Palestinian prisoner stabbed that Israeli officer,” highlighting that immediately following the incident, IPS officials began conducting punitive procedures “humiliating Palestinian prisoners”.
Qaraqe said IPS officials conducted an “unprecedented raid” in Section 1 of Nafha, forcing the Palestinian prisoners to fully undress, leading them outside of the section “while naked in the cold weather, also searching and destroying their personal belongings and cutting the electricity off.”
He called the situation in Nafha “unbearable” and said that the stabbing was a Palestinian prisoner “reacting to these [common] procedures and trying to defend himself”.
Noting that the IPS has banned family and lawyer visitations to prisoners inside Nafha, Qaraqe called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to immediately intervene and visit the prison.
“Palestinian prisoners will conduct group protests and hunger strikes if humiliating Israeli raids continued against them,” Qaraqe’s statement concluded.
Later today, Qaraqe said in a statement that 400 Israeli prison officers raided section 2 and 12 of Nafha prison, handcuffing prisoners and forcing them out into the prison yard.
An IPS spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Yesterday, Palestinian prisoners set fire to a cell in Nafha prison after IPS wardens stormed the prisoners’ cells and assaulted prisoners.
Qaraqe told Ma’an at the time that “prisoners announced a state of alert and set fire inside a room at Nafha prison” after Messada officers, the “takeover” unit of the IPS, reportedly stormed Section 2 of the prison and assaulted prisoners.