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Israeli court sentences Palestinians in heroic escape to additional 5 years

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows the maximum-security Gilbao Prison in the northern part of the occupied Palestinian territories.

An Israeli court sentences six Palestinians, who managed to stage a dramatic escape from a maximum-security Israeli prison last year, to five years in jail in addition of the life sentences they were already serving.

The additional sentence was issued on Sunday for the Palestinians, who escaped the Israeli regime’s Gilbao Prison on September 6.

The escapees have earned “hero” status among their fellow Palestinians for managing to dig their way out of their shared cell using kitchen utensils such as spoons, plates, and even the handle of a kettle.

They then managed to slip past a sleeping prison guard after emerging through a hole outside the prison facility, which had taken them months to burrow.

Their escape triggered a massive manhunt by Israeli military reinforcements and drones before their capture two weeks later.

"My client told the court he did not regret the escape because he had nothing to lose," lawyer Raslan Mahajana cited one of the escapees as saying.

The judge ruling on the case said the sentencing had taken into account the fact that the prison break had “paralyzed Israel for days”.

Five other inmates charged with assisting the men to escape were also sentenced to an additional four years in jail.

EU official denied entry into occupied territories

Also on Sunday, reports said an official with the European Union’s Parliament has been denied entry into the occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli regime.

Manu Pineda had been supposed to take the trip at the head of a delegation to examine the situation on the ground following the regime’s brutal murder of senior Al Jazeera journalist Shereen Abu Akleh.

Abu Akleh was shot in the head on May 11, when she was reporting on an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp.

Her tragic death sent shockwaves across the region and triggered global condemnation. The United Nations and the EU, among others, have called for a full investigation into what has been described as a deliberate killing “in cold blood.”

The European delegation that was supposed to accompany Pineda has also been forced to cancel the trip.

The delegation was also banned from entering the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

“Israel is blocking the work of the European Parliament,” Pineda said.

Fellow delegation member Grace O’Sullivan said the decision by Israel is “an unprecedented move” and that the group will be calling for a strong response from European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

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