Walid Faruq was upset, as usual, from the semi-diplomatic dialogue with a 22 year old young man, who was almost as old as one of his sons, and with whom he could not use his diabolic ways, although he [Walid] had spent more than 25 years in the State Security System. He actually wanted to neutralize the big ward to break into Ward Three and torture the sit-in brothers inside the ward. They were around 15 brothers only, because members of Al-Takfir [Wa al-Hijra Group] and other brothers refused to take part in the sit-in.
However, you cannot always get all that you want. In spite of the rejection in Ward Two of what their brothers in Ward Three did, the creed of allegiance and disavowal [allegiance to the believers and disavowal of the infidels] and aiding the believers prohibits abandoning the brothers at times of need. Brigadier General Walid Faruq had to negotiate with Ward Three for fear of causing a disaster and a blood pool in the prison, which could have caused his dismissal, especially because the threats of the responsible prisoner of Ward Two and the insistence of the sit-in brothers in Ward Three on becoming martyrs in the cause of God, if matters developed into a confrontation. That was the first reaction by that criminal, who knew nothing but bloodshed. In less serious incidents, battalions of the Central Security used to bring thousand of soldiers to besiege the prison, and shout out their cries to terrify the prisoners, hit, torture, isolate, and sometimes kill the prisoners under claims of attempted escape. Walid Faruq killed scores of the mujahidin in the nineties. He [Faruq] is the nephew and son-in-law of Major General Ra'uf Khayrat, head of anti-religious activity department in Egypt who was killed in the nineties by the mujahidin. He [Faruq] is one of the most hostile security officers to Muslims. He burned copies of the Koran and forced the brothers to kneel before the picture of Mubarak. He also tortured scores of them to death in prison.
Negotiations began with the sit-in prisoners in Ward Three, where four of them were chosen to negotiate with Walid Faruq and the two other officers Ahmad Shuman and Ashraf Marawan. Negotiations ended without putting an end to the sit-in, but the sit-in was ended temporarily. Tuesday passed, while the current events outside the prison were getting hotter and the brothers in Ward Two were trying to express their anger by trying to attack the officers and soldiers because of killing the demonstrators and protesters. However, those responsible for the ward prevented them for fear of bloodshed and because the brothers were locked inside closed places, which could make it easy for the security to eliminate them all in less than a quarter of an hour. Yet, the ward management [it here refers to some ward inmates chosen by the other inmates] urged the brothers to pray for the martyrs and the demonstrators, and ask God to aid them to have victory over Mubarak's regime. They formed an information committee to participate in the internet forums and Facebook via the modern telephones available in the ward to publish the news of the revolution. The management assigned some brothers to do this job, and they exerted a great effort in that job despite their poor potentials. It also provided all requirements of phone sets and prepaid cards. They could smuggle these things via security members in return for money and prison rations, to facilitate contacts with some groups of demonstrators without telling them that they were in prison. That was on Wednesday and Thursday [ 26-27 January]. The management made special places and rooms for these brothers inside the ward in complete secrecy, lest information should leak to the security.
Brothers in Ward Three were split. Some of them rejected the sit-in method for fear of bloodshed. Some others were hesitant. The third group was that of the brothers, who sold their souls in the cause of God and liberating their land from the tyranny of Mubarak despite their powerlessness. The fourth group was that of the Al-Takfir Group, who had not shown any stance. Thursday, 27 January passed and 0800 on Friday, 28 January was the time for opening the cells and the ward., but none of the prison security men appeared, and none of their voices was heard.
The brothers, who were responsible for information and revolution support in Ward Two, informed the ward leaders of the likelihood that nobody was in the prison, because it was the Friday of Rage, and events were hot outside. The leaders made contacts with all political prisons in Egypt and knew that they were open. That was before the communications cut at about 0830. They found that most of them were open, and the brothers were afraid it could be a scheme by Walid Faruq. The ward management ordered the brothers to knock at the doors, and the brothers in the other wards did the same, but it was in vain.
At about 0930, Walid Faruq opened the cell of brother Muhammad Abd-al-Halim, who was in charge of Ward Two and called him out. He told Muhammad of instructions to lock all Egyptian prisons that day. Muhammad rejected the way Walid talked, confirmed to him that all prisons were locked, and asked him to open all wards of the prison under his responsibility, assuring that no disturbance would occur in the prison.
Walid Faruq was hesitant between the undertaking by the ward management, which was known to be serious despite its hostile attitude towards the initiative, and fear of losing security control. The ward management wanted to have the prison [wards] opened because it was afraid that the security personnel might escape and leave the prisoners inside the cells, or betray and kill them in their cells.
The brother gave orders to all the brothers in the cells of the ward to be cautious, prepare all sharp tools and all available means of self-defense, and raise the alert status and security sense among the brothers for fear of security betrayal.
As for the brothers in Ward Three, they relied on God and decided to break the cell doors, declaring disobedience to Mubarak's regime. They undertook to leave that prison to the squares to take part in the demonstrations, and never go back to their homes until they liberate Egypt from Mubarak's regime.
Brigadier General Walid Faruq refused the suggestion of ward leader to open the prison, and promised him that the prison would be opened the next day, Saturday. The brother found that negotiating on opening the prison was not useful, so he agreed with him to open it for four brothers in the ward to facilitate running life affairs for the other brothers, in an attempt to guarantee the presence of some brothers out of their cells to try to open them should the security people escape.
The ward leader entered the ward. After a while, he asked for opening a cell for a sick brother. Six persons went out of the cell to remove the sick person and entered Ward Two, thus making the number of persons in the open ward 10 people in addition to the ward leader after implementing the agreement with Walid Faruq and letting out four brothers with the leader. Preparations in Ward Two were made for all probabilities and how to deal with them, including the likelihood of the arrival of an armed force to eliminate everybody, and how to deal with it.
Around 1200, the brothers in Ward Three broke the cell doors, while complete tranquility dominated Ward Two, and were getting ready for all predicted probabilities. A quarter of an hour later, large troops arrived from the security battalion, this time with full weapons. This force is called the strike force. They assembled beside Ward Three and took ready positions amid suspicious cries to horrify the brothers. Getting ready for confrontation, the management of Ward Two decided to take the decision of the confrontation before the force could break into Ward Three and eliminate the brothers.
There were 11 brothers, including ward leader Muhammad, out of the cells. The leader ordered all the brothers in the cells to be ready to face the State Security forces, urged them to have patience and perseverance, to provide all the brothers outside with all available tools in the ward to help them face the forces, and to go to the ward door amid exclaiming "God is Great," and declaring the confrontation with the State Security forces in the prison. Brothers inside the cells were watching them as they were armed with iron, knives, washing machine lids, and fire bottles, and veiled with head covers soaked in water and onion to avoid tear gas bombs in their confrontation with a striking force of more than 300 troops in full gear.
The striking force near Ward Three hurried with all its troops to Ward Two, got assembled, and took positions for assault. Among them were Walid Faruq and many officers of the Special Forces, and they were crying their usual shouts. The brothers stood behind the ward door on the other side where the forces were, exchanging shouts in a wonderful scene. The striking force were shouting: "Long live Egypt. God is Great" and the brothers inside the ward were shouting: "God is Great. There is no god but God, He aided His servant [Prophet Muhammad], glorified His soldiers, and defeated the confederates alone. God is our Lord and you have no lord." The officers gave orders to the soldiers to cover the shouts of the brothers by their shouts, which were similar to roaring of lions and other ferocious animals, along with the shouts of the commandos. The brothers increased their shouts to cover those of the soldiers in an exchange of threats between Brigadier General Walid Faruq, State Security officer, and the ward leader. The officer threatened the brothers with the woes and terror of confronting the forces, and he was filled with arrogance with his weapons and soldiers. The brother threatened to defeat them with patience and perseverance, as well as with the will of God Who aides the believers, saying: "Our killed people are in Heaven and yours are in Hell".
Walid Faruq and his group were afraid because God filled their hearts with horror. He withdrew and sent an officer, who knocked on the ward door and called the leader to go out to negotiate. Following their habits, they were lying. The officer claimed that there was nothing and that the brothers in Ward Three broke the cell doors, and that those forces had come only to secure the prison and would not harm anybody. He also claimed that if they received orders to harm any of them, they would not obey them. He claimed that they fully sympathized with the brothers and cursed the Ministry of Interior to calm the situation. Then, Walid Faruq came as if it were the first time for him to see that situation, and as if he did not know about the arrival of those forces. Pretending that he did not do anything, he asked the officer why those troops had come.
The brother pretended to have accepted their words because he did not want to enter into a confrontation, and only aimed to neutralize those forces so that they would not assault the brothers in Ward Three separately. What made him take the decision of confrontation was his fear lest the forces should assault Ward Three, and then take the other wards one after the other separately. Therefore, he sent messages to the security, declaring that if they attacked any ward, they would have to deal with everybody at the same time. Of course, they did not have enough forces to deal with the three wards at the same time.
This was because if the security forces broke into a ward and end it up, they would have more courage to assault the others, as this was their practice, but the brothers knew them well, as much as they knew the State Security more than its officers did, as a result of their experience and their frequent contacts.
The ward management knew, too, that forces were not equal, and it was completely careful for the blood of the brothers, and would not lead them to definite ruin, but should circumstances so dictate, it would do it.
However, negotiations ended with an agreement to open the doors of the ward at 0800 on Saturday [ 29 January], not to break into Ward Three even if the brothers broke the exercise doors and went towards the walls, to restrict the strike force to securing the prison, and not to make their usual shouts.
Nevertheless, the brother ordered all the brothers to stay fully ready, raise the alert level for fear of security cheating, and to be prepared for all predicted likelihoods. The ward management wanted to reassure the security, so that they would not think of the ward and redirect their attention away from the ward, because there were suspicious movements inside the cells during the preparations for the predicted probabilities.
The heroes in Ward Three succeeded in breaking most of the cells and going out to the ward and they shouted through the windows, declaring jihad against the State Security forces in an awesome scene. That scene reminded us of our mujahidin brothers in the arenas of jihad when they faced the enemy, and it horrified the security forces and God instilled terror in their hearts.
At about 0600, many of the State Security and Prison Authority officers arrived at the prison, and among them was Major General Muhammad al-Batran, head of the Prison Investigation section, who sent for Ward Two leader Muhammad Abd-al-Halim to find a solution for the problem of Ward Three. Muhammad refused to intervene, defending the position of the brothers in Ward Three and affirming that it was Walid Faruq to be held accountable, because it was he who had created that problem.
At about 0700, a number of State Security officers sent again for Ward Two leader in an attempt to neutralize the ward, disavow Ward Three, and let the security deal with Ward Three in the way that State Security saw proper to solve the crisis. He replied by giving them the freedom to do anything but without violence, adding that violence would be faced with violence. The officers were greatly upset and disappointed, because violence was the suitable way they would use, and because the negotiation was intended to neutralize the big ward, where 100 brothers lived, to attack the prisoners in a sit-in in Ward Three. Muhammad added a further threat to the security, stating that any attempt to break into Ward Three would be faced with violence, not only in Abu-Za'bal Prison, but also in all other prisons and political detention camps. He told the security that the communications network was restored, and that he had contacted all the prisons and that they had the same opinion. He did this to block the State Security attempts to break into Ward Three and foil the sit-in. The State Security officers became more desperate in finding a solution for the problem, because facing 15 protesters would end up in facing thousands of detainees in many places, not only one.
By that time, security forces had withdrawn from the streets. They would not be able to face the detainees in the prisons because this would need thousands of soldiers. Friday [ 28 January] was a bad day for State Security officers and the strike force in the strictly guarded Abu-Za'bal Prison. Shouts of the sit-in brothers in Ward Three terrified them and threatened to punish them for killing the demonstrators, who thousands of them fell in the demonstrations in Egypt. They shouted that blood for blood and killers must be killed. They threatened the State Security with black days for supervising the killing of the youths of the revolution in Egypt.
The brothers saw the State Security officers crying in panic; some of them were weeping in fear of their expected destiny. Their looked at Ward Three as if it were a den of dreadful lions that would devastate them should its doors open.
Friday passed, while the brothers in Ward Three were in their sit-in, and the brothers in Ward Two were inside their cells, except for the brothers who were out with the ward leader.
At 0800, Walid Faruq entered Ward Two with a number of State Security officers and gave the ward keys to the leader in an attempt to show that he kept his word. The leader refused to receive the keys and told him to open the prison first. The officer reassured him of opening Ward One and opened Ward Two. Then, the leader asked him to open the gymnasium area, but he refused. So, the leader insisted, and he opened it. The brothers in Ward Three were still in their sit-in, while the ward was open. The ward was opened by them, not by the State Security.
At 1300 on Saturday, 29 January, the security called for the brothers, who were responsible for the rations in Ward Two to receive their rations. They requested the ward leader Muhammad Abd-al-Halim to go out with them. He went out with two brothers responsible for receiving the rations to the prison yard, which was crowded with security personnel and the strike force. Four or five brothers went out of Ward One.
The brothers in the wards heard shooting outside. They thought that the security might have killed the ward leader because they requested him to go out, or that the security had opened fire on Ward Three. A state of tumult and unnerving prevailed in the wards. Ward Two leader shouted out of the ward door, asking the brothers to keep calm. He told them that the shooting was in Abu-Za'bal criminal prison. A state of chaos began, but thank God, the brothers in the management in Ward Two could unify the brothers and control the state of unrest. The ward leader gave a signal from outside to the brothers inside to get ready for departure and confrontation.
Shooting intensified outside, but Ward Two was on alert and, the brothers in Ward Three made attempts to break the windows. Ward Two leader gave orders to the brothers inside to prepare a reconnaissance group in the gymnasium area to watch the watch towers, which were full of snipers, and to wait for God's reward if any of them got killed by sniper fires.
The brothers inside the ward did not know on what grounds the brother outside gave orders, but they knew that there were confrontations outside and survival chances for the leader and his companions were poor. Rumors came from time to time that he was killed, but we used to hurry to the windows and see him with the brothers outside making strange moves, maybe to prepare for something, but the smoke of bombs and gunpowder made it difficult to see.
After a while, our brother Muhammad gave orders from outside to prepare stones and pieces of glass and assemble in the gymnasium area in preparation for the confrontation. The brothers saw the security forces assemble outside under thick fire cover toward the wards and fire live bullets at the wards so extensively that the brothers thought that the other brothers outside were killed. But, thank God, the brothers outside were alive and were leading and giving instructions. The responsible brother outside ordered the brothers to get ready to hurl stones from the gymnasium area, wait for the signal, and withdraw upon orders. He urged the brothers to carry out the orders quickly, because the situation was fatal. The brothers crept in groups to the gymnasium area to evade thick sniper fires from tower tops toward the gymnasium area door.
The brother gave instructions to hurl stones extensively at the visitors' yard, and the brothers hurled stones. Then, he gave instructions from outside to hurl stones inside the wire door parallel to Ward Three. After the brothers hurled the stones, he gave orders for prompt retreat, and the brothers withdrew. Immediately after withdrawal, we saw a shower of gas bombs thrown into the gymnasium area and live fire from the tower machine guns on the wards.
The brothers inside were worried about their brothers outside. They brought out onions and masks for them, but lack of visibility hindered them. Information revealed that the leader set up an ambush for the forces and that the stone hurled by the brothers in Ward Two injured many security personnel, and also that the security forces fired on the brothers outside in reaction to that ambush.
A state of tumult and anger prevailed inside the ward because of this news. The brothers in the ward tried to enter the gymnasium area and throw stones in an expression of anger, and because of contradicting news about the destiny of the brothers outside, but members of the management inside prevented them from entering the gymnasium area because snipers were shooting at the gymnasium area heavily in revenge for the ambush set up by Ward Two, which hurt many of them.
According to the news we heard from some brothers about the ambush, some forces assembled to assault Ward Three and eliminate the brothers. The brother [in charge] was apprehensive and begged them to leave. They thought that he was giving false threats, and they became reassured. Then, the forces began to march to Ward Three in two groups; an assault group, and a support group.
The assault group entered through the wire door parallel to Ward Three, while the support group was 15 meters away at the visitors' yard. The leader gave orders to hurl stones extensively at the support group at the visitors' yard to force it to withdraw and leave the assault group exposed and unable to withdraw, because it had only one exit through the visitors' yard. If they withdrew, they would be hurled with stones, of course. They were surrounded in place. Accordingly, stoning was first toward the visitors' yard. After the support group withdrew, the leader gave orders to stone the assault group. He was certain, of course, that the support group would not fire in order not to hurt the assault group, which did not withdraw and which was facing the ward. Stoning forced the assault group to withdraw. Then, the leader gave orders to withdraw from the gymnasium area, because he knew that after the road was clear before the support group, it would shoot at the wards and throw bombs into the gymnasium area. This was the story of the ambush as we received it from a number of brothers.
There was sadness, and poor visibility made it difficult to see the brothers outside, but soon the confirmed news leaked that the brothers outside were safe and that they could evade bullets of the security forces. Brothers in the ward prayed to God to guide the brothers outside and bless them with peace of mind. The brother in charge gave an order to prepare the luggage and get ready to leave the place in groups. The brothers were astonished about what was going on outside. The brother in charge stressed that they entered into negotiations to leave, then, without confrontations.
We knew later that the security forces split into two teams; one team wanted to assault and kill the brothers, and the other team wanted to end the crisis.
The brother in charge outside gave instructions to the brothers inside the ward to creep to the gymnasium area and get ready to throw Molotov bombs prepared by the brothers. There was an ambush to drag the security forces, who wanted to kill the brothers, to the visitors' yard and hit them, because they were ready with live fire to kill the brothers.
The brothers crept to the gymnasium area, and it seemed that matters would end up killing scores of the brothers and that the brother in charge outside would definitely be killed, together with his companions, because they had dragged the security forces. We knew that the first ambush could hinder assaulting Ward Three with live fire by the Central Security forces platoon, which had taken orders to liquidate the brothers in Ward Three. We also knew that the heavy hurling of stones and pieces of glass caused many injuries in their heads and hands. A group of brothers sneaked into the gymnasium area, while another group dragged the snipers to shoot, and a third group crept with Molotov bombs and stones.
The brother in charge outside gave orders of withdrawal from the gymnasium area as quickly as possible. Immediately upon withdrawal, scores of bombs were thrown into the gymnasium area and there was live firing from medium machine guns. We knew that the security force, which wanted to eliminate the brothers, had discovered the ambush and cleared the area close to the wards.