Two weeks ago, the Israeli military announced the arrest of the last two of six prisoners who had escaped from the Gilboa maximum security prison.
He explained that two detainees, members of the Islamic Jihad organization Aiham Kammaji and Munadil Nafeed, were re-arrested after being surrounded by Israeli security forces near the city of Zen in the West Bank.
Israeli officials decided to hold a court session for them within hours of their arrest.
The remaining four were arrested by Israeli forces last week, just days after a sudden escape from prison.
A magistrate’s court in Nazareth has ordered the extension of custody of four detainees: Mahmoud al-Artha, Yaqub Qadri, Zakaria al-Jubaidi and Muhammad al-Artha.
Israeli officials began to investigate how the operation was successful despite tight security measures in prison.
On Saturday, the city of Jenin witnessed clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters, but Israeli forces confirmed that the two detainees had been arrested without protest.
The father of one of the detainees said his son had agreed to surrender without endangering the lives and property of the homeowners, media reports said.
Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett said the process of re-arresting the fugitives was “interesting,” “quick, accurate and complex.”
Bennett insisted that “mistakes made can be corrected.”
In separate statements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad said Israel was “fully responsible for the safety of the six Palestinian prisoners recently arrested after they escaped from prison.”
In its statement, Islamic Jihad called for “the military units of the Palestinian forces to be more vigilant and prepared.”
The prisoners escaped through a tunnel dug under the prison for several months.
The escapees are believed to have crawled into the outer walls of the prison into this tunnel, and then began digging another tunnel in the middle of a dirt road under an observation tower on the outer wall of the prison.
The escape operation caused severe embarrassment to Israel as the media exposed several security breaches in the Israeli prison system.
The escape was the first in 20 years in Israeli prisons, and was the result of what the Israeli media described as “dangerous mistakes” made by Israeli officials.
Palestinian factions hailed the escape from the Israeli prison, describing what happened as “heroic.”
Surveillance cameras filmed the detainees coming out of the tunnel at 1:30 a.m. local time, but alarm bells rang that people in the vicinity of the prison had seen “suspicious persons.”
Media reports point to some security mistakes made by the authorities, including publishing the prison’s engineering design on the website of the architects involved in its construction, placing Jenin’s six prisoners in the same room on the west bank, and not operating the jamming devices. Hijacked mobile phones from operating on prisoners. Used to communicate with people outside the prison.
Confirmed reports emerged that six detainees had escaped while a guard at a watchtower near the subway exit was asleep.
Five of the fugitives – Mahmoud al-Artha, Muhammad al-Artha, Aiham Kammaji, Yaqub Qadri and Munadil Nafiat – belonged to the Islamic Jihad movement. Four of them are serving life sentences for plotting to assassinate Israelis.
The sixth fugitive, Zakaria Jubaidi, was commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Jenin. He was arrested by Israeli forces in 2019 on suspicion of being involved in multiple shootings, and he is under investigation.
According to the Adamir Foundation for Prisoner Care and Palestinian Human Rights, Gilboa Prison was established under the supervision of Irish experts and opened in 2004, and is described as the most protected prison in Israel, and Palestinians believe Israel operated within 1948 territories.
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