Israeli court sentences Palestinian jailbreakers to five years

22 May 2022, 14:24

Police officers and prison guards inspect the scene of the escape
Israel Prison Escape. Picture: PA

The incident in September sparked a massive manhunt.

Six Palestinian inmates have been sentenced to five years in prison for tunnelling out of their cell last year and escaping from a high-security Israeli facility in the biggest jailbreak of its kind in decades.

The incident in September sparked a massive manhunt in the country’s north and the occupied West Bank in search for the men, who were members of Palestinian militant groups. They were recaptured days later.

The bold escape dominated news programmes, sparked heavy criticism of Israel’s prison service and prompted the government to launch an inquiry.

According to various reports, the men dug a tunnel through the floor of their shared cell undetected over several months and managed to slip past a sleeping prison guard after emerging through a hole outside the facility.

The judge ruled that the sentence took into account the fact that the prison break paralysed the nation for days, the costs it took to recapture the inmates and the harm to public security caused by having prisoners with life sentences and convicted of serious crimes escape.

The five-year sentence will be added to the prison terms the inmates were already serving. Five other prisoners charged with assisting the men were sentenced to an additional four years.

Israel considers all six of the escapees to be terrorists. Five of them are from the Islamic Jihad militant group, with four of them serving life sentences. The sixth, Zakaria Zubeidi, is a member of the secular Fatah group of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Zubeidi was a militant leader during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s and well known in Israel both for his militant activity and his media interviews.

Palestinians consider prisoners held by Israel to be heroes of their national cause and many on social media celebrated the escape and held demonstrations in support of the prisoners.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Police say that the suspect, 22, had mental health problems

Man charged with murder over Copenhagen shooting

Spanish military jets diverted the Menorca-bound easyJet flight for security checks.

Dramatic moment easyJet flight intercepted by fighter jets over 'hoax bomb threat'

Jake McLean (centre) was reportedly killed in the crash, whilst Yazmin Oukhellou (insert) was injured

Lauren Goodger's ex Jake McLean dies in car crash with TOWIE star Yazmin Oukhellou injured

A piece of glacier broke away on the Marmolada mountain

Six dead after chunk of glacier breaks off and slams into hikers on Italian mountain

Several people have been killed in a shooting in a Copenhagen shopping centre

Chilling video shows suspected Copenhagen gunman brandishing rifle before 3 were killed

Residents in a number of Sydney suburbs were ordered to evacuate

Thousands flee their homes as flooding hits Sydney

A woman died after losing an arm and a leg in a shark attack off the coast of Hurghada, Egypt

Second woman killed by shark off Egypt's red sea coast

Oscar Pistorius has met with the father of Reeva Steenkamp

Oscar Pistorius meets victim Reeva Steenkamp's father in a bid for parole

North Korea has blamed its Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons coming from South Korea.

North Korea blames Covid outbreak on 'alien things' and balloons from South

Exclusive
Boris Johnson said Putin does not have to give up power for there to be peace in Ukraine

Putin's made more than 30 nuke threats during Ukraine invasion, Boris tells LBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back at western leaders for their lack of "machismo" and said it would be ‘disgusting’ to see Boris Johnson topless.

Putin mocks G7 leaders' lack of 'machismo' and says PM would look 'disgusting' topless

Ukraine has retaken Snake Island after Moscow's troops abandoned the strategic outpost in what Russia's Defence Ministry has described as a 'goodwill gesture'.

'Kaboom!' Ukraine celebrates Putin's humiliation as Russia retreats from Snake Island

President Joe Biden listens as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson speaks

Ketanji Brown Jackson to be sworn in as US Supreme Court justice

An investigator works outside the Bataclan concert hall (Christophe Ena/PA)

Life without parole for surviving extremist who carried out Paris attacks

A shark is seen swimming across a sand bar (Phil Marcelo/AP)

Great white sharks head to Cape Cod as busy tourist season gets under way

Police outside the Bataclan concert hall in Paris (Catherine Wylie/PA)

Men convicted of involvement in 2015 terror attacks in Paris