JERICHO, West Bank, March 14 (UPI) -- Israel's forceful reply to the Palestinian Jericho prison stand-off was intended to send "a clear message to the Palestinian leadership."
The message, said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev, was to warn the Palestinian leadership that if they choose to abrogate previous agreements signed between Israel and the previous Palestinian authorities, "they should not be surprised by Israel's reaction.
"We wanted to send a clear message to the Palestinian leadership," said Regev speaking to United Press International by telephone from Jerusalem.
The crisis erupted Tuesday when British and American monitors at the Jericho prison departed, on grounds the security situation at the facility had been compromised.
Israeli troops intervened to prevent Palestinian prisoners from escaping. Among them was Ahmad Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
The Palestinian prisoners, said Regev, were now in Israeli custody.