After 4 of 6 escaped prisoners were captured, defense minister says the search now is focused on the Jezreel Valley and the West Bank, where at least one of the two who remain at large may be hiding, according to security officials

Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday said the manhunt to bring about the capture of two remaining Palestinian prisoners who escaped the high-security facility last week continues, with Israel using “all forces and means available.”

Their Hollywood-style escape on Monday through a hole in their cell floor at Gilboa Prison in northern Israel, delighted Palestinians and embarrassed Israel, sparking a massive manhunt.

סריקות בצפון הארץ אחר שני המחבלים הנמלטים מכלא גלבוע אשר עדיין לא נתפסו
IDF forces search Jezreel Valley on Sunday for two escaped Palestinian prisoners still at large (Photo: Elad Gershgorn)


“We are deployed on all fronts,” the defense minister said in a terrorism conference at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya.

“Israel has no intention of harming Palestinian residents of the West Bank or Gaza. We are attempting to promote policies to help develop economic stability there,” Gantz said. “But if terror organizations try to use the current situation to work against local Palestinians who only want stability and economic development, they [the terrorists] will be the first to pay the price.

בני גנץ
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Photo: Motti Kimchi)


The IDF, Israel Police and other security services continued searches on Sunday for the two remaining fugitives Munadil Nafayat (26) and Iham Khamaji (35)m both affiliated with the Islamic Jihad terror group, who remain at large after four others were captured on Friday and Saturday.

Mayor of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council, Eyal Bezer said there has never been such a large force participating in the manhunt. “We were sent the best quality forces in the country in order to capture the fugitives,” he said.

“Our residents are not concerned. They are vigilant and many who had served in elite units during their military service, have joined the search in cooperation with the IDF and the police,” he said.

מחסום משטרתי לכיוון מעבר ג'למה
Police set up road blocks in the north in efforts to capture escaped Palestinian prisoners on Sunday


Palestinian terror factions in Gaza on Friday and Saturday fired rockets at southern Israel in protest over the arrest of the fugitives.

The IDF responded with airstrikes on Hamas targets, claiming the Gaza rulers must be held responsible for any acts of aggression against Israeli civilians.

As reported by Ynetnews