Israeli forces capture 2 more escaped Palestinian prisoners

Tel Aviv: Israeli forces have captured two more of six Palestinian prisoners who broke out of a maximum-security jail on September 6, the police said.

They were caught on Saturday near a parking lot in Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam, an Arab town at the foot of Mount Tabor in northern Israel, the police said in a statement.

The site is close to Nazareth, an Arab city where two other escapees were captured the previous, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the Israeli security forces, they were hiding in the area over the past week.

The police identified one of the men as Zakaria Zubeidi, a resident of the West Bank city of Jenin and high-profile militant leader of the Second Intifada, the Palestinian uprising of 2000-2005.

Photos showed him sitting on the ground blindfolded with his arms cuffed behind his back.

On Friday night, Israeli security forces announced they captured the first two escapees in Nazareth: Mahmoud Aradeh and Yakub Kadari.

Both are affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group and were serving life sentences.

They were arrested without resistance.

Israel’s Kan TV news said a Nazareth resident tipped the police about their hiding place.

About an hour later, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel was intercepted by Israel’s aerial defence systems.

No group assumed responsibility for it but Israeli media widely linked it to the capture of the two.

Two other escapees are still at large.

The six tunneled their way out of the Gilboa Prison in northern Israel, prompting a massive manhunt in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

The jailbreak was hailed as heroic in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It sparked a string of demonstrations in the West Bank to support the escapees and protest new prison measures taken after the escape.