Israeli authorities have launched a manhunt after six Palestinian prisoners escaped from one of the country’s most secure jails overnight.
The men are believed to have dug a hole in the floor of their cell at Gilboa prison, then crawled through a cavity and tunnelled beneath the outer wall.
Officials were alerted by farmers who noticed them running through fields.The fugitives include a former leader of the militant group Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and five Islamic Jihad members.
An initial investigation into the escape of six Palestinian prisoners who tunnelled out of a high-security Israeli prison shows that surveillance cameras recorded the moment the men exited the tunnel, but none of the guards in the control room noticed.
Prison authorities realised they had escaped at approximately 3:30am, it said.According to the findings, the six men had entered the bathroom in their cell at about 1:30am and lifted an object that covered a hole on the floor.
The prisoners included Zakariya Zubeidi, 46, a former Fatah party leader in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, as well as five Palestinian Islamic Jihad members.Palestinian Islamic Jihad has warned Israel against harming the six men.
The other detainees were identified as: Monadel Yacoub Nafe’at, 26, Yaqoub Qassem, Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri, 49, Ayham Nayef Kamamji, 35, and Mahmoud Abdullah Ardah, 46.