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Officials hail capture of 4 Palestinian fugitives, stress 2 still at large

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Israeli politicians and top security officials hailed this weekend’s capture of four of the six Palestinian security prisoners who broke out of prison earlier this week, but stressed that the other two remained at large and are highly dangerous.

The six men escaped from Gilboa Prison in the predawn hours of Monday morning, digging out a concrete slab from their shower floor, giving them access to a crawlspace underneath the penitentiary. From there, they dug a tunnel to just outside the prison wall and continued on foot.

Investigators believe the six men had worked for several months to remove the slab and dig the escape tunnel.

“This was a cell that had prepared things down to the last detail, meticulously. This was something that took time. This was not preparation that began the day before,” said Northern District Police chief Shimon Lavi.

The prison break, one of the worst in the country’s history, was possible due to a litany of apparent oversights, mistakes and blunders by prison guards, allowing the six prisoners — four of whom were serving life sentences for terror-related crimes and all of whom had ties to terrorist organizations — to escape. Public Security Minister Omer Barlev has called for a commission of inquiry to investigate the prison break and the failures by the Israel Prisons Service to prevent it.

In a Channel 12 interview on Saturday night, Barlev called the escape a “major failure” that he said was caused in part by allowing the prison to be built with a gap between the floor and the ground.

“This was Israeli corner-cutting in every way. There was a push to set up the prisons, but........

© The Times of Israel

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