The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group sent forces to the city of Jenin, warning Israel not to track down the group of prisoners who escaped there.
“If the Israeli army enters Jenin, they will face significant fire from a variety of weapons and explosive devices,” a spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group said on Saturday.
The announcement comes as the Israeli military is searching for six Palestinian prisoners who escaped through a tunnel under the drainage system at the heavily guarded Gilboa prison in northern Israel on September 6. Israeli security forces plan to raid the city of Jenin in the West Bank to find the group of prisoners. Five of the six escaped prisoners are PIJ members and Israel considers the group a terrorist.
The PIJ group has issued a series of warnings against Israel since the prison break, and also sent forces to Jenin to cope. This is the most suitable hiding place for the group of prisoners when all were born and raised in Jenin, a city considered a no-go zone for the Israeli army and security forces of the Palestinian Authority.
Video published in Palestinian media shows masked gunmen walking through the streets of Jenin, firing guns into the air.
Six prisoners were sentenced to life in prison by Israel for their involvement in deadly attacks on Israelis, all of which are considered very dangerous. One of these is Zakaria Zubeidi, the former commander in charge of the city of Jenin of the Al-Aqsa Jihad Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah movement.
Zubeidi was a key player in the second anti-Israel insurgency (Intifada), which was pardoned by Israel in 2007. However, Israel revoked the amnesty four years later and arrested Zubeidi in 2019.
The PIJ leader called the prison break “a slap in the face to the army and to the entire Israeli system.” Meanwhile, the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip hailed the escape as a “courageous and heroic act”.
Vu Anh (Follow Times of Israel)