Ofer prison raid (archive image)

Israeli forces stormed the prison cells of Palestinian prisoners on Sunday, using attack dogs and pepper spray to assault the inmates.

According to local sources, Israeli officers unleashed the dogs on the prisoners, causing severe bites to several inmates. In addition, numerous prisoners suffered from the effects of tear gas being fired at them in confined spaces with no place to escape to be able to breathe.

The attack came after Palestinian prisoners organized protests at the lack of medical treatment and the refusal of Israeli authorities to curb an outbreak of COVID19 in the Israeli-run prison that began last week.

The prison is located in the Palestinian Territories near Ramallah, but is owned and operated by the Israeli military which occupies and controls all aspects of life in the Palestinian Territories. Since 1967, the Palestinian population of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem have lived under martial law under the rule of the Israeli military.

Dozens of Palestinian prisoners suffered injuries from the assault, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS).

Following the attack, Israeli officers transferred dozens of prisoners to other parts of the prison.

This was the third such incident at Ofer Prison since Palestinian political prisoner Daoud al-Khatib died of a heart attack on September 3rd. Palestinian prisoners and their supporters have blamed his death on deliberate medical negligence by Israeli prison authorities.

al-Khatib was 45 when he died. He had been imprisoned by Israeli authorities since 2002, for being part of the resistance against the Israeli occupation. He was a member of the armed wing of the Fateh party, and was arrested during the Second Intifada, also known as the al-Aqsa Intifada.

On September 6th, Israeli authorities raided prison cells and confiscated all electronic devices and other personal belongings of the inmates.

More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences. Over 350 detainees, including women and minors, are under Israel’s administrative detention, held without charges or trial for indefinite periods of time. Some prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to 11 years.