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10 Prisoners, One Officer Injured in Ashkelon Prison Riot; Order Restored After Two Hours

Special precautionary measures were introduced in all Israeli prisons Thursday night following an inmates’ riot Thursday evening in the top-security prison at Ashkelon in which one officer and 10 prisoners were slightly injured. It took wardens and police reinforcements two hours to restore order in the prison, which houses 480 Arab terrorists–half of them sentenced to life imprisonment. Prisons Commissioner Aryeh Nir said that last month’s rebellion by prison inmates in Attica, N.Y.–resulting in the deaths of more than 40 inmates and guards–may have sparked the Ashkelon uprising. He said the terrorist prisoners receive daily newspapers and five-times-a-day newscasts.

According to the Ashkelon prison warden’s report, a terrorist inmate who had been blinded in a clash with an Israeli patrol lay on his bed pretending to be sick. When the officer counting the prisoners asked him if he needed medical treatment, the other 19 prisoners in the cell jumped him and beat him to the floor. His fellow officer was pushed aside and immediately sounded the alarm.

All on-duty wardens–around 40 of them, none armed–rescued the two officers and locked the prisoners in another cell. When those prisoners started shouting and breaking windows, the other 460 inmates did likewise. All the inmates were searched and their cells cleared of debris. Eighteen inmates charged with incitement to riot were relocated in other prisons. A committee is investigating the incident.

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