The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has lauded the heroic escape of six Palestinian prisoners from an Israeli maximum security jail in the north of the occupied territories as a strong slap in the face of the Tel Aviv occupying regime.
Israeli media said on Monday that at least six Palestinian prisoners had escaped from the maximum security Gilbao Prison in northern Israel overnight, with regime troops launching a manhunt to arrest them.
Five of the prisoners were said to belong to the Palestinian resistance movement Islamic Jihad, hailing from towns near the occupied northern West Bank city of Jenin.
The cellmates, serving life sentences, are believed to have fled through an underground tunnel from the Israeli prison, which they had managed to dig over the past few months.
Expressing congratulations to Palestinian people and resistance groups on the success of the prison break, Hezbollah praised in a statement on Monday the operation as an “unique achievement” and said it was highly commendable.
“The operation was a one-of-a-kind achievement and a strong slap in the face of the Israeli occupation forces as well as their strict security measures,” the statement said.
The Lebanese resistance movement added, “It is a further evidence of the vitality, smartness, patience and continuous struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their land and prisoners.”
Hezbollah stressed that the achievement is regarded as a new chance to highlight the plight of Palestinian prisoners at the regime’s jails, and an opportunity to expose Israel’s abusive practices as well as the serious violations of the Palestinian prisoners’ rights.
The escapees have been identified as Munadil Nafayat, 26, from Yaabad; Mahmoud and Mohammad al-Arida, both from Arraba; Iham Kahamji, 35, from Kufr Dan; and Yaqoub Qadiri, 49, from Deir al-Basha.
The other prisoner has been identified as Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Jenin.
Qassam brigades hails ‘heroic’ escape of Palestinian inmates
The Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, hailed as “heroic” the escape of Palestinian inmates from the highly-fortified Gilbao Prison.
“They wrested their freedom with their fingernails … and crossed the walls of injustice and aggression,” the Brigades said, adding, “The sacred duty of every one of our people is to protect such resistance and freedom fighters, be a solid shield for them and prevent the occupation from reaching them.”
The military wing of Hamas stressed that the Palestinian resistance will not give up the strategy of capturing Israeli soldiers and striking swap deals to free Palestinian prisoners.
More than 7,000 Palestinian prisoners are currently held in some 17 Israeli jails, with dozens of them serving multiple life sentences.
Rights groups describe Israel’s use of administrative detention as a “bankrupt tactic” and have long called on Israel to bring its use to an end.