Israeli forces stormed dozens of areas across the occupied West Bank district of Jenin, looking for the 6 escaped Palestinians.
Media sources in Jenin said dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the Arraba plain area and conducted searches in Palestinian communities.
According to Palestinian media outlets, the Israeli forces raided the homes of the six escaped prisoners and began to arrest their relatives.
They invaded Arabbuna village northeast of Jenin and stormed and ransacked dozens of homes.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) September 8, 2021
Clashes erupted between the Palestinian youth and the Israeli in Arabbuna after the raids.
The IDF claims that its extensive searches are part of efforts to find the six Palestinian political prisoners who escaped from Gilboa prison.
Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of the Palestinian resistance group al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Jenin, and five members of the Islamic Jihad group managed to tunnel their way out through their cell’s drainage system to escape from the maximum-security jail.
It was the biggest Palestinian escape from an Israeli jail since 1987, when six members of the Islamic Jihad broke out of a heavily-guarded jail in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on Israel to release all Palestinian prisoners.
“Every Palestinian prisoner wants freedom, and they have the right to seek out any path to freedom,” Shtayyeh told reporters.
Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett called the escape a “grave incident”, while Palestinians celebrated it on social media.
Palestinian resistance groups, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, also hailed the jailbreak as a “heroic act” and a “powerful blow to the occupation forces.”
Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad prisoners in Ktzi’ot Prison threatened to burn every cell they are expelled from in response to the continuing attacks against them by prison authorities.
In a letter, they called on the Islamic Jihad to take strong acts of support for them and halt the Israeli regime’s fierce attacks against them.
They warned that taking them out of their cells and scattering them will worsen the situation toward an escalation.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences. Israeli forces have also allegedly arrested more than 17,000 minors since 2000.
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