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Israel raids Palestinian prison after withdrawal of international monitors

[JURIST] Israeli forces stormed a Palestinian prison in the West Bank Tuesday in an attempt to seize a Palestinian militant linked to the 2001 killing of an Israeli minister. The raid in Jericho [IDF press release] came shortly after the US and UK withdrew prison monitors [UK FCO statement], citing security concerns. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas [BBC profile] condemned the withdrawal of the monitors, who were present under a 2002 agreement that allowed Ahmed Saadat [BBC profile], leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to be held in the West Bank. Saadat refused to surrender to Israeli forces, which reportedly demolished walls around the prison and killed a guard and prisoner [Reuters report]. The Israeli Army reported detaining 182 people from the prison for questioning. Saadat eventually gave himself up to Israeli authorities after dark.

The Israeli raid has triggered unrest in Palestinian territories and has sparked a major diplomatic crisis with London and Washington. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw [official profile] defended the withdrawal of prison monitors, arguing that the Palestinian Authority had ignored British requests for security assurances at the prison. BBC News has more.

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