Five female prison guards under investigation for intimate relationships with terrorist inmate

Probe attempts to reveal whether prison staff had knowledge of the situation; Police official says such incidents can occur as these are young guards who aren't truly experienced or accustomed to dealing with terrorists

Liran Levi|
The investigation into the intimate relationship between imprisoned terrorist Mazen al-Qadi and female guards at Ramon Prison in southern Israel is nearing its conclusion. The case, first reported by Ynet, is expected to be submitted to the State Prosecutor's Office for a decision in the coming weeks. The guards are female soldiers performing their mandatory military service.
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So far, the national prison investigation unit in Lahav 433 of the Israel Police has been examining the conduct of five female guards from Ramon Prison, who are suspected of deceit, breach of trust and obstructing the investigation process in connection with their alleged intimate relationship and communication with the terrorist al-Qadi via Instagram. Additionally, this week, five other inmates and staff members at Ramon Prison are also under investigation.
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Ramon Prison, Mazen al-Qadi
Ramon Prison, Mazen al-Qadi
Ramon Prison, Mazen al-Qadi
(Photo: Herzl Yosef)
The police first sought to establish the initial suspicion of whether any of them were aware of the intimate relationship between the terrorist and the soldiers and failed to report it. However, the investigation findings indicate that, aside from the implicated guards, no one else within the prison was aware of the situation. All the investigated guards have been suspended from their prison duties for two weeks.
Senior officials within the police force believe that this incident will not necessarily lead to criminal charges.
"The public outcry generated by this incident, along with (Public Security Minister Itamar) Ben-Gvir's immediate decision to remove the guards from the prison system, have had their desired impact. Not every case is suitable for criminal prosecution, and it will be up to the prosecution to decide whether to close the cases and transfer the matter to the disciplinary channels for the female guards and the security inmate involved," an official said.
"Every day that soldier guards, both male and female, continue to serve in the prison system, there is potential for more such incidents. Ultimately, these are young soldiers who aren't truly experienced or accustomed to dealing with terrorists," the official also said.
The identification of the prisoner as al-Qadi was cleared for publication Monday afternoon. Al-Qadi, 43, from el-Bireh outside of Ramallah, was involved in the 2002 terrorist attack at the Café Market restaurant in Tel Aviv, in which three Israelis were killed, and 35 others were injured.
As part of this incident, five female soldiers serving as prison guards established a connection with the terrorist, who was sentenced to life in prison. According to the investigation, al-Qadi possessed a mobile phone in his cell, through which he used to correspond with the female guards and exchange photos. In at least one instance, a physical and intimate encounter took place, apparently with the consent of one of the female guards.
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