Israeli regime forces have detained four of the six Palestinian prisoners who made a bold escape from the high-security Gilboa prison earlier this week, Palestinian and ‘Israeli’ media reported.
Since the jailbreak on 6 September, the Israeli occupation has poured troops into the occupied West Bank and led a massive manhunt followed by a crackdown on Palestinian prisoners across its prisons, in what was seen as “collective punishment” by Palestinian factions and rights groups.
Israeli police said that Zakaria Zubeidi, a high-profile former commander of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and Mohamed Qassem Ardah were arrested near the Palestinian town of Shibli–Umm al-Ghanam, hours after Mahmoud Abdullah Ardah and Yaqoub Mahmoud Qadri were captured in the Jabal al-Qafzeh neighbourhood of the city of Nazareth.
Zubeidi and Mohamed Ardah were found hiding in a truck parking lot near Nazareth.
Lawyers for the four prisoners said on Saturday that they have been denied access to their clients and Israeli intelligence continues to withhold information from them.
“Our legal team is making a great and unremitting efforts to follow up on the fate of the four prisoners who were re-arrested by the occupation forces, and to know their conditions and places of detention,” the Palestinian Commission of Detainees Affairs said in a statement.
One of the lawyers, Khaled Mahajna, said in an interview that the legal team intends to submit an urgent petition to the district court in Lod to demand a meeting with their clients.
“Until this moment, we have not been able to obtain information about their health, physical, and psychological conditions,” Mahajna said.
Following the escape from the high-security Gilboa prison on Monday, Israeli authorities arrested family members of the prisoners in what the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society described as an attempt to pressure the escapees to turn themselves in.
Israeli authorities launched a manhunt and increased their military presence in the West Bank, installing checkpoints at entrances to Palestinian towns, including Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, and Qalqilya, where security officials believe the prisoners could have fled to.
Gilboa prison is 4km north of the West Bank and 14km west of Israel’s border with Jordan.
On Thursday, Jordanian officials denied media reports that the escapees had crossed into their territory.