Shots fired at central Israeli prison in fourth attack on jailers since August

Shots fired at central Israeli prison in fourth attack on jailers since August

Guard tower hit at Ayalon Prison in latest drive-by-shooting, amid suspected intimidation campaign against prison officers involved in crackdown on mobsters

The Ayalon Prison complex in Ramle, central Israel (AP/Ariel Schalit)
The Ayalon Prison complex in Ramle, central Israel (AP/Ariel Schalit)

In a suspected mob warning, unknown assailants opened fire on the Ayalon prison complex in the central Israeli city of Ramle overnight Thursday.

Several bullets hit a guard post next to the headquarters of the prison in the drive-by-shooting, which took place shortly after midnight. The post was manned at the time but no injuries were reported.

Police were searching the area for the perpetrators, who fled the scene.

The incident was the second attack on a prison compound in just two days and the fourth since August.

Early Wednesday morning, a similar drive-by shooting took place at the Rimonim Prison near Tel Aviv.

Prisons Service officials said that the shooters in that attack were believed to belong to a known criminal organization, several of whose members were serving prison terms in Rimonim Prison, which is part of the Hadarim complex.

The shooting, officials said, was seen as a “warning” to Prisons Service officials who have been clamping down on the activities of criminal organizations inside the prison in recent months.

The latest incident is also suspected to be part of the same campaign against prison officials.

The crime organization believed to be responsible for the attacks had “crossed all red lines,” officials said Wednesday.

“Our assessment is that this is the work of criminal organizations we are operating against, that have abandoned any restraints they had and are willing to occasionally carry out serious attacks, including shootings toward prison walls and verbal and other threats against officers and jailers in the Prisons Service, in a bid to control them through intimidation.”

Israeli Prisons Service officers stand at the entrance to Rimonim Prison, February 23, 2014. (AP/Ariel Schalit)

In early October a bomb exploded inside a car belonging to the head of one of the wings of Rimonim Prison while it was parked near her home in Netanya. No one was hurt in the attack, but the car sustained heavy damage.

The officer targeted in the bombing oversees the section of the prison that houses the members of the criminal organization suspected in Wednesday’s shooting.

In August, a stun grenade was thrown against the outer fence of Ma’asiyahu Prison in Ramle.

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