As Israeli forces continue to attack and shell the Al Muqataa prison in Jericho, where jailed Palestinian resistance leader Ahmed Sadat and others remain imprisoned, the besieged prisoners have condemned the attack as a ‘political stunt’ by Israel and pledged not to surrender.
Prime minister-elect Ismail Haniyya, of the Hamas party, stated, "This is a serious escalation by Israel against the Palestinian prison where fighters and other prisoners are being held. We are warning Israel that these threats against the life of Ahmed Sadat and his comrades in prison are being seen as a serious escalation, in which Palestinian lives are put at risk to satisfy political agendas in Israel".
From his prison cell during the ongoing invasion, the apparent target of Tuesday’s attack, leader of the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Sadat, has maintained his position that he will not surrender. At 3:00, in the midst of the invasion, he stated in a phone conversation with Al Jazeera television, ""We will not surrender to this latest Israeli attack. This is a political move by Israel, an election stunt [before March 27th Israeli elections]."
In Tuesday’s invasion of the prison, Palestinian prison guards quickly surrendered to the invading Israeli forces, leaving the prisoners to fend for themselves. At least 170 prisoners have surrendered to the Israeli forces, as of early Tuesday afternoon.
Bassim Al Jimhi, another prisoner speaking by cell phone from his cell, said at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, "The situation is getting worse as the Israeli army is approaching and shelling the prison, but we will not surrender."
The Palestinian High Court ruled that there was no evidence on which to hold Sadat and four other PFLP prisoners for the 2001 assassination of an Israeli politician, but the Palestinian Authority continued to hold the five prisoners, as part of the ‘Jericho Agreement’ with Israel. Israel’s violation of the agreement by invading on Tuesday also included the collusion of American and British guards who were stationed at the prison, but withdrew to allow for the Israeli forces to invade.
Israeli forces have been bulldozing the buildings around the one holding Sadat, apparently planning to isolate his building in a manner reminiscent of the Israeli siege on then-Palestinian President Yassar Arafat’s compound in 2003.