Home WORLD Israel Captures 2 of 6 Palestinian Fugitives Who Escaped Prison

Israel Captures 2 of 6 Palestinian Fugitives Who Escaped Prison

After the intifada, Mr. Zubeidi renounced violence, turning to political theater and helping to run the Freedom Theater in his hometown, Jenin, in the northern West Bank. But he was arrested again in 2019, accused of helping to orchestrate attacks on Israeli settlers.

The six cellmates escaped from Gilboa prison at about 1:30 a.m. Monday, after removing part of the shower cubicle floor and lowering themselves into a cavity that runs beneath the prison. They then crawled nearly 32 yards underneath two walls, two barbed-wire fences and a pack of sniffer dogs, evading the detection of 40 prison guards.

The fugitives emerged through a hole in the ground, just a few feet beyond the prison’s eastern wall, before leaving on foot through the fields nearby. Their absence was confirmed at about 3:30 a.m., after civilians in the area reported suspicious figures moving around near the prison, prompting a prison roll call.

Attempting to prevent a second jailbreak, Israeli officials moved 80 other prisoners from Gilboa to other jails, a move that set off riots in some of those jails.

The escape also prompted several protests across the West Bank, as Palestinians expressed solidarity with those on the run. About 5,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli jails, mostly on terrorism charges. Many Palestinians see them as heroes of the struggle for Palestinian sovereignty.

After the arrests, two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, where Islamic Jihad has a stronghold. No injuries were reported, and it was not immediately clear if the rockets were linked to the arrests.

In a separate episode earlier in the day, a Palestinian doctor, Hazem al-Julani, attempted to stab an Israeli police officer in the Old City of Jerusalem, prompting officers to shoot and kill him. He was the latest of at least 60 Palestinians killed since the start of the year, mostly by Israeli security officers, according to a tally compiled by the rights group, B’Tselem.

Jonathan Rosen contributed reporting.

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