Israeli occupation forces last night arrested several family members of the six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from the high-security Gilboa Prison in northern Israel earlier this week.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners' Society, Israeli soldiers entered and ransacked Palestinian homes in Arabbuna, north of the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, where the escapees are from. They arrested four members of Mahmud Ardah's family. He has been described in Israeli media as the mastermind of the escape.
Heavily-armed Israeli soldiers also arrested Yacoub Infaat, the father of another escapee, after breaking into his house in Ya'bad, to the west of Jenin.
According to Wafa news agency, the detention of an official in the Palestinian Health Ministry's Complaints Unit, prompted Minister Mai Al-Kaila to condemn his detention and the interrogation of his family.
"The Israeli occupation deliberately inflicts violence on the Palestinian people in violation of international norms, laws and conventions," said Al-Kaila. She called on all human rights organisations to intervene without delay to ensure the official's release.
On Monday, the Israeli occupation authorities announced that six Palestinian prisoners had escaped from the high-security Gilboa Prison of in the north of the country. Reports said that they used primitive kitchen tools to dig a tunnel from their cell through which they escaped.
Israel has since launched a massive manhunt and reinforced its occupation forces in Jenin. The Palestinian Authority security services are reported to be cooperating in the search for the escapees.
Rights groups say that there are 4,850 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, including women and children. They face ill treatment and harsh conditions.