Six Palestinian militants escape from high-security Israeli prison
Six Palestinian prisoners managed to escape from a high-security jail in northern Israel early on Monday.
Israeli security forces mounted a search in northern Israel after a farmer tipped off police about suspicious figures seen in their fields in the early morning hours. Police then alerted officials at Gilboa prison, who discovered the men had gone, apparently through a tunnel which has been dug from below a toilet in the cell.
Hours after the escape, prison officials shifted some other inmates- Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities including deadly attacks-to other jails, fearing similar tunnels had been dug.
Five of the fugitives belong to the Islamic Jihad movement and one is a former commander of an armed group affiliated with the mainstream Fatah party, the Prisons service said.
Islamic Jihad said in a statement that the prison break was a "major heroic act" and a "severe slap to the Israeli and the entire system in Israel". In Gaza, Islamic Jihad supporters handed out candy on the street to motorists and passersby in celebration.
Israeli Police say intelligence services are involved in a large police operation to try to find the men. Drones and helicopters are also being used in the hunt, police said.