Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz revealed on Friday that they already have the leads on the possible locations of the six Palestinian militants who broke out of a high-security Israeli prison on Monday.
“Ultimately, we will get our hands on the people who escaped. There are intelligence and operational leads and I am sure we will catch them,” Gantz said.
Ganz said they are coordinating closely with Palestinian authorities for the speedy arrest of the dangerous fugitives.
“Determined work is being carried out, with proper collaboration between the different security branches and we will continue this activity and ensure security for this area,” Gantz added.
Israeli authorities are tracking down the escapees from Gilboa prison in northern Israel since they are considered dangerous terrorists.
The Prison Service said one of the escapees was identified by the Prisons Service as Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the West Bank city of Jenin.
Sources said the brigades carried out deadly attacks against Israelis during a 2000-2005 Palestinian uprising.
Meanwhile, the five other escapees were identified as Munadil Nafayat, Iham Kahamji, Yaquob Qadiri, and brothers Mahmoud and Mohammed al-Arida.
They are all members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and from towns near Jenin.
Arik Yaacov, the service’s northern commander, hinted the escapees appeared to have opened a hole from their cell toilet floor to access passages formed by the prison’s construction.
Yaacov said the facility, about 4 km (2 miles) from the boundary with the occupied West Bank, is one of the highest-security jails in Israel and houses Palestinians convicted or suspected of anti-Israeli activities, including deadly attacks.
A Palestinian prisoners organization said four of the men were serving life sentences.