Israeli police have caught two of the six Palestinians who escaped a maximum-security prison this week in a daring prison break that has captured the country’s attention.
Police said the two were caught in northern Israel on Friday night.
The announcement did not identify the prisoners or give any other details. But the Haaretz news site identified them as Mahmoud Aradeh and Yakub Kadari – members of the Islamic Jihad militant group who were both serving life sentences. The report said the men were caught in the northern city of Nazareth after a civilian alerted police to two suspicious figures.
A video circulating on social media showed Israeli police shackling a man into the back seat of a police vehicle and asking the suspect for his name. The man, wearing jeans and green T-shirt, calmly identifies himself as Kadari and answers “yes” when asked whether he is one of the escapers. Kadari was serving two life sentences for attempted murder and bomb planting.
The six Palestinians tunnelled out of the Gilboa prison on Monday, setting off a furious manhunt across Israel and in the West Bank.
They include four members of the militant group Islamic Jihad who were serving life sentences as well as Zakaria Zubeidi, a well-known militant leader from the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s. All of the prisoners are from the nearby city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank.
The escape has exposed major flaws in Israel’s prison service and set off days of angry criticism and finger pointing.