Prison Break: As Israel Continues Manhunt for 6 Palestinian Fugitives, Here's How They Escaped
Dozens of checkpoints are still operating across Israel as police chase after six Palestinian prisoners who escaped on Monday night. Israel doesn't know where the escapees are, and local experts believe the jail break will lead to a string of resignations and dismissals.
Israel is continuing its search for six Palestinian prisoners, all of whom have been involved in terror activity, who escaped from Gilboa prison on Monday. Police have set up dozens of checkpoints across the country. A thousand police officers are involved in the pursuit for the terrorists.
The IDF has also joined police and apart from deciding to extend the closure on the West Bank's crossings with Israel, it has also announced that it would boost the number of forces dedicated to the mission.
Here’s a Breakdown of What Happened:
6 September: the Escape
1:20: The six prisoners enter a toilet and remove one of the floor tiles. One after another, they enter the hole that was covered by that tile, and start crawling for 21 to 25 metres until they reach the exit, located only a few metres away from a watch tower.
1:49: The police receive a phone call from a cab driver who was travelling on Route 71 between Afula and Beit Shean in northern Israel. He tells the police that he saw three men running next to the Gilboa prison, holding something in their hands.
1:58: The police send a patrol car, with officers talking to an eyewitness at the local gas station who confirms that he saw a suspect.
2:14: The Beit Shean police alert the prison authorities of the reports they gathered.
3:19: Israel's prison authority announces that three Palestinian prisoners have gone missing. Half an hour later, it corrects itself, saying that six managed to escape.
08:05: Hamas announces that it welcomes the "brave" operation carried out by the prisoners. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a radical organisation to which five out of the six belong, also hails it as a "heroic act".
12:15: Israel's security apparatus believes that after the prison escape, the six ran some three kilometres. Then the group split into two. One of them probably crossed over into Jordan. The second one most likely headed to Jenin, controlled by the Palestinian Authority. One of the groups used a car that took them to an unidentified location.
15:21: The police check whether the wardens at the Gilboa prison assisted the six fugitives.
8 September 2021, 21:00 GMT
15:40: Prime Minister Naftali Bennett holds an emergency meeting with top security personnel.
19:00: The police check whether a female warden who was placed in the watch tower during the night of the escape fell asleep during her shift. The suspicions were later confirmed.
7 September: Search Unfolds
11:29: The police set up 89 checkpoints across Israel. The IDF also throws its forces into the operation.
17:00: As the IDF conducts searches in the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians take to the streets at multiple locations across the area to express solidarity with the prisoners.
17:34: According to Palestinian sources, the IDF detained three young people from the village of Naoura that's located 10 kilometres away from the prison. They are suspected of assisting the six prisoners.
17:45: About 170 prisoners belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are transferred from the Gilboa prison to other facilities across the country.
The move is seen by the Palestinian prisoners as a deterioration of their conditions. In response, the factions in Gaza say they will escalate tensions with Israel if it doesn't improve the conditions of the prisoners.
20:00: So far, 14 wardens have testified in the case. All of them were present during the shift when the six escaped. Many others are expected to give their testimonies in the coming days.
8 September: Still No Clue
09:00: Relatives of the six prisoners are arrested.
13:00: The leadership of the Islamic Jihad prisoners who are currently incarcerated announces a hunger strike the following week in response to the measures taken by the Israelis.
8 September 2021, 23:32 GMT
14:00: The IDF steps up its assistance to the police: 14 infantry companies and special units participate in the search.
17:00: Palestinian prisoners express their solidarity with the six escapees. Many of them set cells on fire at the Ktziot and Ramon prisons.
The police are now preparing itself for more disturbances. The jailbreak has already been branded as one of the worst in the history of Israel. Experts estimate that many will be fired because of this failure, but as it stands now, Israel doesn't have a clue where the six Palestinians are.