Hamas says Palestinian escapees 'shattered Israel's honour'
On Monday, six Palestinian prison breakers escaped Israel's high-security Gilboa prison, but four were recaptured by Saturday.
Following their recapture, Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum hailed the jail-breakers, saying "history will record the heroic and courageous scene of the six prisoners of war, the heroes of the Freedom Tunnel battle."
He urged that regardless of the recapturing, the fact that they were able to escape broke Israel's morale and honour, whilst uniting Palestinians in joy and hope.
"This battle has revived hope once again in the hearts of all our people that the overwhelming West Bank and its explosion in the face of the Zionist occupation to get rid of it is only a matter of time," he said.
Barhoum added that the capture of the four prisoners “is just one round in the open-ended conflict with the Israeli occupation”, though did not directly threaten to retaliate.
"This round will be a driving force for the Palestinian people in the West Bank to continue their resistance and uprising against the (Israeli) occupation," Barhoum added.
The jailbreak has been hailed as a “big victory” by Palestinians, while Israelis decried it as a major security and intelligence failure.
On Sunday, Israeli forces teargassed dozens of Palestinians who held protests in support for the prison-breakers in the village of Tuqu in Al-Arroub and Al-Fawwar refugee camps, in Hebron.
Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees' Affairs spokesperson Thaer Shreiteh told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that "all sections in all prisons have been closed and prisoners are forbidden to go out to [the prison yard]".
He added that authorities are "sometimes failing to give food to [jail] sections, in addition to isolating tens of [Palestinian Islamic] Jihad prisoners and transferring their leaders to Al-Jalamah Prison for investigation".
He said Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) prisoners held in the same cells were being mixed with other detainees.
It is claimed that five of the men who broke out were affiliated with the PIJ and the sixth was affiliated with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).
The six men, who escaped on Monday, are believed to have lived in the same cell in the high-security jail in northern Israel and were able to flee through a tunnel under a cell sink, prison authorities said at the time.
The UN, Red Cross, and other international rights groups have been urged to help protect Palestinian prisoners by the Palestinian Prisoners Club.