Palestinians protest across West Bank streets in solidarity of escaped prisoners

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Dozens of Palestinians held protests in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday in solidarity with six Palestinian men who escaped a maximum-security Israeli jail earlier this week. In order to recapture the six Palestinian men who escaped through the Gilboa jail on Monday, Israeli forces have launched an extensive manhunt across the region. Reportedly, the forces have also captured the relatives of these inmates.

Several Palestinians gathered across various West Bank locations including Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron to raise “freedom” chants and wave Palestinian flags. Palestinians took to the streets across West Bank and Gaza Strip to raise their discontent with Israel’s repression against prisoners in jails.

Brutal crackdown on protesters

As per a statement issued by the Palestinian Red Crescent, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the protesting crowd on Wednesday. It confirmed that more than 100 people have suffered injuries in police action against the protesters. The statement added that Israeli special units cracked down on several prisons to disperse about 400 prisoners and relocate them to other prisons.

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

It resulted in a number of prisoners setting their cells on fire. In a press statement, the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Palestine Liberation Organization slammed the Israeli prisons service for committing a “heinous attack” on Palestinian prisoners in several Israeli jails. “Continuing the escalation in this way means a real war inside the prisons,” the statement noted.

The Commission highlighted the brutal attack carried out by Israeli prisons guards and armed soldiers of special units against prisoners in Kitzeot jail in southern Israel and many other prisons.

State’s response

According to Palestinian and Israeli media reports, Israeli police and security forces have tightened security against Palestinian prisoners in several jails to prevent further escapes.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces are investigating the details of the prison break. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also held consultations with defence and security chiefs to take a review of the situation.

“The events have the potential to impact numerous fronts. Israel is prepared for any scenario,” a statement issued by Israeli PM’s spokesman said.

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