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Female guard suspected of sexual relationship with Palestinian security inmate

Five female prison guards serving out their mandatory military service are suspected of having an intimate relationship with a Palestinian security prisoner, with at least one suspected of consensual sexual activity, it was reported on Friday.

The Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court has placed a gag order on many of the details of the case, such as the location of the prison.

According to the Ynet news site, which first reported the case, over the past year, one of the guards allegedly established ties with the prisoner, a Fatah member convicted of involvement in a terror attack in central Israel which led to the deaths of Israelis.

The prisoner allegedly possessed a phone inside his cell used to keep in touch with the guards and exchange photos, according to initial findings by the Israel Prison Service (IPS). It was unclear from the report if the phone was provided by the guard.

Ynet reported that there is a suspicion that a consensual physical interaction occurred between one of the guards and the prisoner.

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The matter was reported to the IPS security department, which then passed the information to the police. According to Ynet, the prison’s commanders were unaware of the relationship.

File: National Security Itamar Ben Gvir visits south Tel Aviv, September 3, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

One of the suspects was questioned by police on Thursday, where she revealed four others were involved in contact with the prisoner. She was released to house arrest on Thursday.

The five suspects are said to be nearing the end of their mandatory service.

The guard’s lawyer argued that the prisoner threatened his client into a non-consensual relationship, but a senior police official told Ynet that evidence suggested otherwise.

The prisoner was transferred from his cell to a segregated wing Friday morning and will be questioned later, IPS said in a statement.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said the “horrifying report” proves the need to dismiss female soldiers from guarding security prisoners.

“Immediately after I began my role, I insisted on this, and since then took significant steps on the matter, and the presence of female soldiers in [prison] wings has been reduced,” he said.

Ben Gvir said that by mid-2024, female soldiers would not be serving in the role.

The minister issued an order in January to begin the process of permanently halting the placement of Israel Defense Forces soldiers as prison guards for incarcerated terror inmates.

The decision came more than five months after then-defense minister Benny Gantz ordered an investigation into the arrangement last August, following bombshell accusations that convicted terrorists had assaulted and raped female soldiers serving as prison guards, and that some prison guards had “pimped out” the conscripts to placate inmates.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.