Report: Escaped Gilboa security prisoners may attempt escape to Jordan

Tunnel may have been dug from outside prison, by those helping the security prisoners, source says.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Tunnel opening
Tunnel opening
Israel Prison Service

The six security prisoners escaped from the Gilboa Prison who escaped through an underground tunnel may have received help from sources outside the prison, Israel Hayom reported.

A large number of Israel Police, the IDF, and Israel Security Agency (Shabak) forces are searching the area. A security source familiar with the details of the initial investigation told Israel Hayom that there is a suspicion that the tunnel was dug by helpers on the outside, and that it went into the prison.

A senior Israel Police official confirmed to Israel Hayom that residents of the Gilboa region noticed the escaping terrorists as they were in nearby fields. At the time, the residents assumed that the terrorists were thieves. The residents reported the terrorists to the police, but said police took their time and began searching only hours after the escape had occurred.

At this point, there is a suspicion that the terrorists are already within the bounds of the Palestinian Authority, and there is concern that they may attempt to escape to Jordan.

A Jordanian source who spoke with Israel Hayom said that Israel sent a message to Jordan saying that the IDF is reinforcing its forces along Israel's eastern border due to concerns that the escapees are armed and will attempt to cross the border into Jordan.

"It's horrifying to think that they could have entered one of the homes in the nearby towns, carried out a terror attack, and taken hostages for negotiations. This is a huge failure," the senior police official told the site.

Israel Hayom noted that security officers in the towns around Gilboa Prison were informed of the event and took appropriate precautions. In a Monday morning situational assessment, the Prisons Service decided to prepare to disperse the other security prisoners in its department.

One of the prisoners has been named as Zakaria Zubeidi, the former Jenin chief of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorist organization.

The other five prisoners belong to the Islamic Jihad terror group. One of these has been named as Iham Kamamji, who was convicted of murdering Eliyahu Ashri in 2006. The others have been named as Mondal Infia'at, Mahmad A'arida, Mohammad A'arida, Yaqoub Qadari.

In a statement, the IDF said, "IDF soldiers, in coordination with Israel Security Agency, are helping Israel Police and Israel Prisons Service search for the security prisoners who escaped the Gilboa Prison earlier this morning. In addition, several aircraft have been dedicated to the project. IDF soldiers are prepared and spread throughout Judea and Samaria."