Israel recaptures Palestinian militants who escaped maximum-security jail through cell floor

·2-min read

Four of six Palestinians who broke out of a maximum-security Israeli prison via a hole in their cell floor have been recaptured.

Two of the fugitives were found in the town of Umm al Ghanam, Israel police said, while the other pair were discovered in Nazareth.

According to Israeli media, residents in both locations turned them in. Four of the six are serving life sentences.

One of those caught in Umm al Ghanam, Zakaria Zubeidi, was a militant leader during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s.

Police issued a photograph of him being led away in handcuffs and with a scarf around his head.

Despite being linked with attacks on Israelis, he formed a friendship with an Israeli woman and gave numerous interviews.

Zubeidi also took college courses and was part of a West Bank theatre movement before being re-arrested in 2019 on suspicion of being involved in attacks.

In Nazareth, video on social media showed one of the pair detained there being restrained in the back seat of a police vehicle.

Wearing jeans and a green T-shirt, he identifies himself as Yakub Kadari and says "yes" when asked whether he is one of the escapees.

He is serving two life sentences for attempted murder and planting bombs.

All of the escapees are from the city of Jenin in the West Bank.

Their actions have been celebrated in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Late on Friday, militants in Gaza fired a rocket into Israel in an apparent sign of solidarity, drawing Israeli airstrikes in response.

The militants' escape, through the floor of their shared cell in Gilboa prison, has been a major embarrassment for Israel.

Hamas said the escapees had "scored a victory and harmed the prestige of the Israeli security system".

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