Escaped Gilboa prisoner: 'We dug for nine months'

Escaped Gilboa prisoners didn't drink between escape and capture, attorney says. They attempted to cross into the Palestinian Authority but wanted to avoid Israeli security forces.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Gilboa Prison
Gilboa Prison

Mahmad and Mohammed Ardah, two brothers who escaped the Gilboa Prison along with four other terrorists, have said that the prisoners began digging their escape tunnel in December 2020 - approximately nine months ago.

The statement was made via the prisoners' lawyers, Khaled Makhajna and Rasla'an Makhajna.

"We began the digging in December 2020, and it continued until this month," read a message from the lawyers. "At the time of the escape, we had a small radio by which we followed what was happening outside."

According to the prisoners, after leaving the prison they went together to the mosque in Kafr Na'ura, an Arab village in northern Israel. There, they split into pairs.

The prisoners' testimony was quoted by Ma'an and translated by Channel 13 News.

"We tried as much as possible not to enter Palestinian villages within the '48 borders (i.e., within sovereign Israeli territory), in order not to arouse suspicion," they explained.

Mahmad Abdullah Ardah, who was captured together with Yacoub Qadri in Nazareth, said: "We were arrested by happenstance, no one in Nazareth told on us. There was a police patrol passing and when it noticed us, it arrested us."

According to the brothers' attorneys, the escapees did not drink even a drop of water from when they left the prison until they were caught, and as a result they became exhausted.

They also described the moment Mohammed Ardah was caught together with Zakaria Zubeidi: "After the search of the hiding place was almost complete, they were discovered by happenstance, after one of the searchers put out his hand and grabbed Mohammed."