The Israeli army fears that the escape of six prisoners from Gilboa maximum security prison could lead to armed confrontations with the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, public broadcaster KAN has reported.
"The escape of Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa prison may inspire the territories and lead to riots and even a security escalation," Israeli security agencies were quoted as saying. Five of the six prisoners, they explained, are linked to Islamic Jihad, boosting the organisation's credibility at the expense of Hamas.
KAN pointed out that both organisations are calling on the Palestinians in the West Bank to provide shelter for the escapees.
Shimon Nahmani, head of the Operations Department in the Israeli General Staff, told KAN that troops and security agencies are working to track possible escape routes.