Four Gilboa Prison break family members arrested as Israel lashes out at detainees

Four Gilboa Prison break family members arrested as Israel lashes out at detainees
Four family members of Palestinians who made a daring escape from an Israeli jail have been arrested.
3 min read
08 September, 2021
Palestinians have rallied in support of the six escaped detainees [Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Getty]

Israel has arrested family members of a group of Palestinians who took part in a daring prison escape this week.

The six Palestinian detainees who managed to break out of the maximum-security Gilboa Prison on Monday have still not been caught and are the subjects of a desperate Israeli search.

In the towns of Arraba, a town in the West Bank not to be confused with the Israeli city of the same name, and Yaabad four family members of the wanted Palestinians were arrested, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club on Wednesday.

Troops went door-to-door in both these areas, as well as Deir Abu Daif and Bir Al-Basha, all in the Jenin area, sources told Anadolu.

They also said CCTV footage of the raids were taken away by Israeli security, who entered both shops and people's homes.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs spokesperson Thaer Shreiteh told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, that "all sections in all prisons have been closed and prisoners are forbidden to go out to [the prison yard]".

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He added that authorities are "sometimes failing to give food to [jail] sections, in addition to isolating tens of [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad prisoners and transferring their leaders to Al-Jalamah Prison for investigation".

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) prisoners in the same cells were now being mixed with other detainees.

It is claimed that five of the men who broke out were affiliated with PIJ.

Katy Perry, the head of the jail, had opted to keep around 400 alleged PIJ detainees apart and sent them to other locations to ensure there is just one per cell, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

Detainees from northern Israeli jails, including Gilboa, where Monday's escape occurred, were put elsewhere, largely in southern facilities.

However, Haaretz said Israel's prison authority chose not to go ahead with a planned move for PIJ detainees out of Ofer Prison, after around 150 detainees said they would resist the move.

A high-level jail system figure claimed: "They are just scared of them."

It is unclear if this operation is what Shreiteh was referring to.

The jail authority asserted that the PIJ relocations are happening.

The great Gilboa Prison break

This process has already occurred at 170 prisoners, with the number expected to rise to 400 by the weekend.

"After several inmates in Ofer Prison resisted the move, they were taken to punishment cells and will face disciplinary proceedings," the prison authorities said in a statement.

The UN, Red Cross, and other international rights groups have been urged to help protect Palestinian prisoners by the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad said "[its] options are open to protect the prisoners" in an article on its website.

Israel has also arrested three individuals suspected of involvement in assisting the detainees in escaping Gilboa Prison, according to Haaretz.

The three arrests were made in the Palestinian village of Naura, located within Israel, on Tuesday.

The six men who escaped from jail were allegedly in the village briefly to shower, put on new clothing and buy something to eat, sources told Haaretz.