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Manhunt For 6 Palestinians Who Escaped Israel Prison Through Toilet Tunnel

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Israel police and prison authority have launched a huge manhunt for 6 ‘dangerous’ Palestinian prisoners who have escaped from the country’s high-security Gilboa prison. Report says the prisoners have affiliations with the Islamic Jihad movement and the Palestinian Fatah party.

The prisoners had broken open a toilet seat of their prison cell and dug a hole through the floor, which they escaped by a tunnel underneath the building.⁣
In 2014, an attempt by another group to get out by getting underneath was prevented and repair work was carried out on the prison, but the weakness still remained. The six cellmates emerged through a hole directly under a watchtower, and what Israel says, was a coordinated operation, with help from the outside.

Gilboa is one of Israel’s highest-security prisons, used to house prisoners convicted of ‘anti-Israel activities.’ Five of the escapees were serving life sentences, while the sixth was awaiting trial for crimes including attempted murder.

The men all come from in or around the city of Jeanine nearby in the occupied West Bank. Five of them are members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, four of them serving life sentences for attacks that killed Israelis. The sixth escaping is Zachary Zubaydah, a high profile figure in Fatah’s armed wing, the Al Aqsa martyrs brigade, on trial charged with attacks against Israelis, he was also once detained by Palestinian security services, accused of collaborating with Israel.

Israel’s government is under enormous pressure to recapture these men with a public security minister saying they may have made for the Jordanian border they could have headed into the occupied West Bank, or may still be inside Israel, planning to carry out attacks. Palestinians have been celebrating, calling it a heroic and brave act. But Israeli PM Naftali Bennett has called the situation a ‘grave incident.’⁣

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