Security sources in the West Bank said that Palestinian gunmen dressed in police uniforms on Friday broke into a prison in the West Bank city of Jericho and shot dead six Palestinian inmates.
Ynet has learned that the gunmen were looking to avenge the death of two activists, residents of Nablus, who were assassinated by the IDF a few years ago. Some of those incarcerated in the prison are suspected of cooperating with Israel in the assassinations, while other prisoners are suspected of attacking the gunmen’s family members in response to the execution of collaborators’ relatives.
The disguised gunmen arrived at the prison in a police squad car, fooling the prison guards who immediately opened the gate. The gunmen then entered the cell in which the prisoners were kept and opened fire, killing five of the prisoners they suspected of collaboration with Israel and another prisoner who was sharing a cell with them.
A senior Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades member told Ynet that the organization decided to execute the collaborators after the Palestinian Authority refrained from doing so for more than year.
The senior member said the prisoners assisted the IDF in the assassination of Sheikh Hussein Farj and his brother Ali, both senior Fatah members from the Nablus area.
The two were killed just a short while after another senior Fatah member, Tayal Farj, was also killed by the IDF.
The incident was not the first in which gunmen entered a prison and executed collaborators or those suspected of cooperating with Israel. Similar incidents have taken place mainly in Gaza, and in the past year a number of prisoners have been killed in this manner.
Palestinian organizations have demanded that the Authority execute suspected collaborators and have threatened to take the law into their own hands if it failed to do so.
Following a number of raids on PA prisons President Mahmoud Abbas decided to transfer the collaborators’ cases to the Mufti, so that he may authorize their execution; a number of prisoners suspected of collaborating with Israel have indeed been executed in the past few months.
Reuters contributed to the report