Six Palestinian prisoners in Israel escaped by tunneling out of their cell overnight, leading to a sweeping search across the country’s north and the occupied West Bank early Monday. The prisoners, who were not seen as an urgent threat, seemed to have gone into hiding. A photo from the prison service showed a hole in the floor of a cell, likely where the prisoners created a tunnel out of the Gilboa prison, one of the country’s highest security facilities. The astonishing prison break—which was lauded by many Palestinians, including militant groups—took place just hours before the Jewish New Year.
The group of escapees included Zakaria Zubeidi, a prominent figure from an armed Fatah-affiliate, who was detained in 2019, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club. Another four of the prisoners who made it out were serving life sentences, the group said.