Israel lashes out against Palestinian prisoners after Gilboa Prison breakout, arrests family

Israel lashes out against Palestinian prisoners after Gilboa Prison breakout, arrests family
Israel is reportedly denying prisoners food and access to outside space follow a daring escape by six Palestinian men from Gilboa Prison on Monday.
2 min read
08 September, 2021
Israel has reportedly lashed out at Palestinian prisoners [Getty]

Israel has put prisons holding Palestinian detainees under lockdown after a daring prison break, a Palestinian official has said, as authorities arrest family members of the escapees.

The six Palestinians 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.

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]".

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".

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

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

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Jail authority chief Katy Perry had opted to keep around 400 alleged PIJ detainees apart, distributing them across various locations to ensure there is just one per cell, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

Detainees from northern Israeli jails including Gilboa were put elsewhere, largely in southern facilities.

However, Haaretz said Israel's prison authority chose not to go ahead with the planned move for PIJ detainees to be moved out of Ofer Prison amid a backlash.

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 will happen.

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.