• Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:50 pm

Six Palestinians escape Israeli jail, including top ex-militant

  • Published at 02:10 pm September 6th, 2021
Israel Jail
A tunnel dug beneath a sink at the Gilboa prison in northern Israel on September 6, 2021 AFP

The prison service released video that appeared to show a narrow tunnel dug beneath a sink

Six Palestinians escaped on Monday from a prison in northern Israel through a tunnel dug beneath a sink, triggering a massive manhunt for the group that includes a prominent ex-militant, officials said.

At roughly 0000 GMT, locals near the Gilboa Prison spotted "suspicious figures" and alerted the authorities, said a statement from the Israel Prison Service. 

The IPS confirmed the escapees included Zakaria Zubeidi, a prominent militant leader from the flashpoint city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. 

He was the former head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and a well-known figure among Palestinians and Israelis.

A large search operation was immediately launched involving police, the army and special forces, according to statements from the IPS and police. 

Sniffer dogs and aerial assets were used in the search and checkpoints set up in the surrounding area.

The army said its forces were "prepared and deployed" in the West Bank as part of the operation. 

The prison service released video that appeared to show a narrow tunnel dug beneath a sink. 

The escape occurred hours before Israel begins its High Holiday season, starting with Jewish New Year which begins at sundown. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a statement called the escape "a serious incident" and said he was receiving regular updates about the search.

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