Mass search operation underway for six Palestinians who escaped from Israeli prison

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Six Palestinians escaped from Israel’s most secure prisons in a most unprecedented manner – using a rusted spoon. Israel has launched a mass search operation in northern Israel and occupied West Bank. The escaped prisoners are five members of Islamic Jihad and a high-profile leader from al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade from Jenin refugee camp. They were sharing a cell at Gilboa prison and made an escape route behind a sink.

Palestinian prisoners escaping Israeli jails is never heard of and was described as a “grave incident” by Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett.

Katy Perry, the commissioner of the Israel prisons service, has confirmed that the prisoners had exploited a flaw in the prison’s structural design by exposing a gap behind a wall. “From our initial investigation, it appears that there was no digging; rather, a plate that covered the space was lifted out of place,” said Perry.

Omer Barlev, Israel’s public security minister has said that it is very likely that the fugitives have reached West Bank. “There was very precise planning, very detailed, and therefore there was probably external assistance. We’re examining [it] at the moment. We will catch the fugitives.”

The escape was discovered on Monday morning at 3 am. Images released after the escape show a narrow gap in the wall dug out behind the sink. Through this the men reached drainage system of prison and managed to escape out. It is believed that several months were spent by the prisoners working on the tunnel using a spoon that was found hidden behind a poster in their cell.

Roadblocks have been erected by Israel and patrolling is being conducted in the area. Other 400 prisoners in the prison are meanwhile being relocated to prevented any more escape attempts.

Palestinian militant groups have lauded the escape. “This is a great heroic act, which will cause a severe shock to the Israeli security system and will constitute a severe blow to the army and the entire system in Israel,” said Daoud Shehab, a spokesperson for Islamic Jihad.

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