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Israel: manhunt for escaped prisoners achieves nothing

Israeli forces closed the Jalamah checkpoint between the city of Jenin in the West Bank and Israel after 6 Palestinian prisoners escaped from Israeli prison, on 6 September 2021 [Nedal Eshtaya/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli forces closed the Jalamah checkpoint between the city of Jenin in the West Bank and Israel after 6 Palestinian prisoners escaped from Israeli prison, on 6 September 2021 [Nedal Eshtaya/Anadolu Agency]

For the third day running, Israeli security and intelligence services are continuing their massive manhunt for the six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from the high-security Gilboa Prison overnight on Sunday. Thus far, their efforts have been unsuccessful.

An Israel Prison Service official described the escape of the six Palestinian prisoners as a "major security and intelligence failure." Palestinian resistance groups hailed it as "heroic act."

According to a report on Israeli Channel 13 TV, "There is no tangible intelligence information on the table for Shin Bet [internal security agency], police investigators or anyone else. This is a big problem."

The journalist pointed out that the main tactic is to apply pressure on the ground. Many officers have been deployed across occupied Palestinian land and in Israel simultaneously.

Police have warned members of the public to be cautious, and to report anything suspicious. They believe that the prisoners obtained arms as soon as they escaped, so any attempt to arrest them could lead to an armed confrontation.

READ: Israel imposes restrictions on Palestine detainees' rights

CCTV footage showed two of the prisoners heading north towards the Arab Israeli city of Tamra. Two others headed for Bisan in the east, where they took a taxi.

According to several Israeli media reports, the police have reduced the number of checkpoints from 200 to 89. Most of those remaining are in the friction areas between Israel and the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday morning, Israeli occupation forces began to raid the homes of the prisoners' relatives. A number have been detained and questioned in an attempt to glean any intelligence that might lead police to the escapees' whereabouts.

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