Palestinian prisoners given five extra years for jail break

Six inmates escaped from Israel’s Gilbao prison through a tunnel dug under a sink in 2021

Ayham Kamamji, 35, one of the six who tunnelled out of Israel's high-security Gilboa prison, in the magistrates' court in Nazareth on September 19, 2021, after his recapture. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Six Palestinians were given an extra five years in jail on Sunday for escaping from an Israeli prison 2021, their lawyers said.

The six prisoners, who were already serving life terms for anti-Israeli attacks, escaped from Gilbao prison through a tunnel dug under a sink.

They were hailed as "heroes" by the Palestinians, but their escape started a huge manhunt by the Israeli army and they were captured two weeks later.

Apart from the extra prison sentences, the men were each fined 5,000 shekels (about $160).

"My client told the court he did not regret the escape because he had nothing to lose," lawyer Raslan Mahajana said.

Among the escapees was Mahmud Ardah, a member of the militant Islamic Jihad group, who was considered to be the mastermind of the operation.

After he was recaptured, Ardah said he had used spoons, plates and even the handle of a kettle to dig the tunnel.

He escaped along with Zakaria Al Zubeidi, a chief of the armed branch of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party.

His brother, Daoud Al Zubeidi, was killed on May 15 in an Israeli army operation in Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Updated: May 22, 2022, 9:54 PM