Gilboa Prison escape: 'It's clear the inmates didn't dig the tunnel'

'The terrorists lifted a cover and used the space in their cell,' Israel Prisons Service chief says.

Ido Ben Porat ,

The entry to the tunnel
The entry to the tunnel
Israel Prisons Service

Israel Prisons Service Commissioner, Lieutenant General-Commander Kati Perry, on Monday morning discussed the escape of six terrorists from the Gilboa Prison, saying it is not yet clear if the six received outside help in executing their escape.

"It's clear that they did not do it by digging, but rather lifted a cover and used the space in their cell," Perry said.

Israel Police Northern Command Commander Commissioner Arik Yaakov said that the shaft by which the terrorists exited is apparently a space in the prison building, as part of the foundations upon which it was built.

"The incident is still being investigated, and still examined," he said. "We're not talking about a tunnel which was dug, exactly. There's a failure in the building, which is on top of a base of poles. There is a space underneath - and apparently the prisoners used it."

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev (Labor) said, "I am not an engineer, and certainly not a prison engineer, but it turns out that this prison was built on poles. It was built in 2004, after the Intifada, in a rushed fashion, and it turns out that it is built entirely on poles, and there are spaces of air between the surfaces throughout the entire length of the prison."

"There is no doubt that this was a mistake, a serious event which should never have been allowed to happen. We will examine all of the lessons and inform the public in a clear fashion," he said.

Several hours passed between the terrorists' escape and when authorities located the tunnel they used to make their escape. It is believed that by now, the terrorists are deep within territory belonging to the Palestinian Authority, and that they are likely to make their way from there to Jordan.



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