Jerusalem, Sep 6 (EFE).- Six Palestinian prisoners, all convicted on terrorism-related charges, have escaped from a high-security Israeli prison using a tunnel, Israeli authorities confirmed Monday.
Police officers, as well as units from the border police and the military, launched a manhunt after the escape from Gilboa Prison northern Israel.
Local media reports said that one of the six fugitives was identified as Zakaria Zubeida, a former commander of Fatah’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
Zubeida was serving a life sentence for several deadly attacks, including that on the Likud party headquarters that killed six people in 2002.
The other five, also serving a life sentence, are members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is designated as a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.
The six cellmates are considered very dangerous by the Israeli authorities, who have deployed helicopters, drones, and police dogs to scour large areas of land.
Prison officers became aware of the escape at around 4.00 am (1.00 GMT) while conducting an early check of inmates; however, it is believed they have fled hours earlier toward Jordan, whose border is adjacent to the prison.
The Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip in a statement called the escape “the greatest heroic act that will seriously shake the Zionist security system and deal a severe blow to the occupation security forces and the entire Israeli regime.” EFE