The commander of the Eshel prison and another senior officer were removed from their posts over a cellphone smuggling attempt in which a Palestinian security prisoner escaped from his wing by crawling through an air-conditioning duct.
The prison commander, holding the rank of junior commissioner, and a chief superintendent in charge of operations at the prison were relieved of their duties by Prisons Service head Commissioner Ofrah Klinger, Channel 2 television reported Sunday.
The decision to punish the officers came at the conclusion of an investigation ordered by Klinger following the incident, which took place last month.
According to the report, a security prisoner used an air-conditioning duct to leave his wing and gain access to a compound that was close to the outer walls of the prison, which is located near Beersheba. Guards noticed that the prisoner, who is affiliated with Hamas, was in a prohibited area and closed in to capture him.
A search of the area and on the prisoner’s person revealed several packages containing the cellphones and cellphone parts, among other items, which had been thrown over the fence, apparently during the night.
The Prisons Service upped the number of security staff guarding the area and carried out a search of the Hamas section of the prison.
In August, some 260 Hamas prisoners went on a short-lived hunger strike at the Eshel and Nafha prisons after the Prisons Service launched a major search operation in their cells to find contraband items, Haaretz reported at the time. The prisoners, who were moved from their prison cells to other facilities around the country during the search ended their strike after two days following an agreement with prison authorities.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.