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Israel: 'largest manhunt in Israeli history' for six Palestinian escapees

Police officers search as they investigate an area where six Palestinian prisoners managed to escape from Gilboa prison overnight on September 6, 2021 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israeli security and intelligence services have been involved since Monday in "the largest manhunt" in the occupation state's history in the search for six Palestinians who escaped from the high-security Gilboa Prison through a tunnel. As the search continues, the Israel Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, has boosted the number of soldiers involved in the manhunt.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the "massive manhunt" involves police, Shin Bet internal security agents, Border Police and troops from two IDF battalions and fourteen companies of soldiers, as well as Special Forces. The newspaper added that there are around 200 roadblocks in place across Israel as part of the efforts to find the escapees.

Special units including dog handlers and air support are also involved. More than 750 military vehicles are tied up by the search.

"The incident constitutes a rare humiliation of the Israeli security establishment," said the New York Times, "and has provoked alarm about the security lapses that may have aided the fugitives' escape."

The Jerusalem Post reported a senior Israeli police official as saying that this was one of the worst incidents of its kind ever to have happened in Israel.

Describing the escape as a "serious incident," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Interior Minister Omer Bar-Lev that "it will require the efforts of all security services."

READ: Israel extends West Bank security closures 

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