The head of a major criminal organization on Tuesday was pulled from his isolation prison cell and detained for questioning for allegedly blackmailing his jailers.
Qutayer Odeh, a crime boss from Jaljulia near Kfar Saba, was questioned over allegations of extortion, criminal conspiracy, and threatening senior Israel Prison Service officials, in order to improve his conditions, police said in a statement.
He will be brought before a judge on Wednesday to determine the status of his detention alongside his ongoing imprisonment, in accordance with the needs of the investigation, the statement read.
Police said they had collected evidence from senior IPS officials who are suspected to have fallen victim to Odeh.
Odeh was sentenced to 18 years in prison in July 2022 for attempted murders and threats. He was placed in isolation at the maximum-security Ohalei Keidar Prison from other inmates for fear he would continue to run his crime syndicate from behind bars, Channel 12 news reported last week.
After a judge rejected Odeh’s appeal for relief from isolation, last week men loyal to him staged riots at the Rimonim and Eshel prisons, situated near Netanya and in Beersheba, respectively.
Ohalei Keidar is next to Eshel, both of which are part of the four penitentiaries that comprise the Beersheba Prison.
Members of the crime syndicate of Nasser Hariri, another gangster who in February was sentenced to 18 months for extortion, also joined the riots. Hariri, who is also isolated from the general population at Rimonim, is said to be an ally of Odeh.
The riots coincided with a violent turf war between crime syndicates in Arab cities and neighborhoods and other violent disputes, which have claimed 158 Arab lives in 2023 alone, more than double 2022’s number to this point in the year.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.