Zakaria Zubeidi's request to switch cells should've alerted someone

'Prison orders require thorough inspection of each cell, at least once a day,' former Gilboa Prison official says.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Zakaria Zubeidi
Zakaria Zubeidi
Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90

Retired prison warden Maqbel Tapash, a former commander of the Gilboa Prison who until recently headed the Israel Prisons Service northern district, responded to the escape of six security prisoners early Monday morning.

"Six terrorists who escape from under everyone's noses is the most serious incident that could happen. We failed big time," he told Ynet.

"This is a sad day for the Prisons Service and for me personally," he told Ynet. "I dedicated nearly four decades of my life to the Israel Prisons Service."

He added, "It's an embarrassing event, and the most serious that's happened in recent decades."

According to Tapash, there are several set orders which require thorough inspection under each toilet, shower, and every other spot in a cell, at least once a day.

"By the results, it's clear that there were failures and mistakes," he said. "This also isn't the first escape, there always were these. But the Gilboa Prison is considered to be the 'prison safe,' populated by the most dangerous prisoners in the State of Israel. All of the orders and routines were written in blood. We failed majorly with this escape, and that requires a thorough shake-up."

Tapash also noted that the transfer of Zakaria Zubeidi, the former Jenin chief of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorist organization, to cell 5 in wing 2, should have tipped someone off. That cell was populated by members of the Islamic Jihad terror group - a rival group to Zubeidi's Fatah.

"Such a request should have lit a huge searchlight - not just a flashlight," Tapash told Ynet. "It's not logical and it's not reasonable. We needed to have checked what was hiding behind his request, and not transferred him until we had looked into it."