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A farcical jailbreak that isn’t funny at all

14 11 36
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For over a week, Israel and the Palestinian territories have been transfixed by a jailbreak that was initially, albeit ridiculously, compared to Andy Dufresne’s meticulous and fictional escape from Shawshank State Prison.

In contrast to Dufresne’s astounding getaway, Israel’s Prisons Service all but opened the cell door and ushered Fatah terror chief Zakaria Zubeidi and his five Islamic Jihad cellmates to the exit of the “high-security” Gilboa Prison.

From what we have been given to understand, the five Islamic Jihad members were in the same cell from which several of them had attempted to break out in 2014. Zubeidi, from the rival Fatah, obtained permission to move in with them shortly before the escape. Their route via the cell’s lavatory area seven years ago had been concreted off, but not so the area beneath the shower which they broke through this time. From there, they were able to crawl toward the main prison walls by way of a below-floor cavity, and then to dig their way up and out through a small hole in the dirt just outside the walls.

Helpfully, architectural plans of the Gilboa layout were available online. More helpfully still, the guard tower immediately above their breakout hole was not staffed — apparently for budgetary reasons. The guard in an adjacent tower was asleep. Awakened by unusual noises, she reportedly looked around in the dark, saw nothing, and nodded off again.

Eyewitnesses spotted the escapees almost immediately, with a taxi driver quickly phoning in a detailed report of suspicious figures in the area to the local police. When the cops tried to alert the jail, however, they reportedly discovered that the Prisons Service had changed its phone numbers, and they didn’t have the new ones. By the time police officers had driven over to the prison, crucial minutes........

© The Times of Israel

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