Security forces outside the Gilboa Prison
Security forces outside the Gilboa Prison Flash 90

Zakaria Zubeidi and Mahmad Ardah, the two escaped terrorists who were found early Saturday morning, were located by trackers from the IDF's reserve Maroul unit.

Sergeant Major (Res.) Ro'i Simon of the Maroul unit told Kan News: "From the moment we were called for reserve duty, the fighters left their homes on the holiday, left their synagogues, and stood ready to help with the search. We are doing everything in order to locate the escaped prisoners."

He added that "as a unit which took part in the operation to bring back the three kidnapped teens, and since then has conducted many activities, including chasing terrorists, searching for illegal weapons, and mapping the territory ... we managed to lay our hands on the prisoners. The unit did not stop its work and continues its efforts until all of the escaped terrorists are caught."

Simon added that the success was "thanks to the lessons and inter-organization cooperation of all the defense organizations."

Late on Friday night, the unit's trackers found the escape path of two of the prisoners, in Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam. The trackers followed the footsteps, cigarette butts, and drink cans, and succeeded in recreating their path and locating them.

Mahmad Ardah was identified by the trackers as he slept in a truck, and Zakaria Zubeidi stood beside him, alert but exhausted. He advanced about ten meters towards him after hiding in an olive grove. The unit's trackers called in the police and Shabak (Israel Security Agency), who handcuffed the terrorists without significant resistance. The terrorists were then taken for interrogation.

A security source told Haaretz that Zubeidi and Mahmad Ardah seemed exhausted and dirty at the time of their arrest, and it was clear that they had hidden outside for an extended period of time. The source estimated that like the other two terrorists, Zubeidi and Mahmad did not receive aid during the time they spent outside the prison, and did not plan where they would go, unlike during the period prior to their escape.

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