Friday, October 21, 2011

Israeli police detain 14 at prison protest

Demonstrators at Israel's Ofer prison express support of detainees' hunger
strike on Oct. 5, 2011 (MaanImages)

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli police detained 14 Palestinian citizens of Israel on Thursday during a demonstration at Israel's Hasharon prison calling for the release of all Palestinian detainees, a human rights organization said.

Around 40 Palestinian-Israelis gathered to wave Palestinian flags and demand the release of prisoners that were not part of an exchange deal between Israel and Hamas, the head of Israel-based human rights group Huriyat Muhammad Kananeh told Ma'an.

Israel released 477 prisoners, including 27 women, in return for Hamas handing over captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit on Tuesday, and 550 additional prisoners will be released in two months under the swap deal.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said he could only confirm 12 were detained at the scene.

He told Ma'an the protest was illegal as it lacked coordination with authorities, and that protesters called for the kidnap of more soldiers and attacked a police officer.

Kananeh said police dispersed the protest by force, adding that three women were among those detained.

Demonstrators were calling for the release of the nine women still in Israeli jails, he said.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Thursday that Egypt has assured the movement that the remaining female prisoners will be released "in the coming days," as part of the swap deal.