Commission of inquiry to investigate security failures that led to prison break

“We will leave no stone unturned,” said Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev pledged to form a commission of inquiry to examine the multiple blunders which led to the escape of six Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa Prison in northern Israel earlier this week.

“In collaboration with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the minister…decided to establish a formal government inquiry, headed by a retired Supreme Court judge, to examine the failures that enabled the escape,” said a statement from Bar-Lev’s office.

The statement added that the decision to form the committee had been made after consultations with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

“We will leave no stone unturned,” Bar-Lev told Hebrew-language media. “I trust the government of Israel to approve my recommendation so that we can get to the bottom of the events that led to the grave outcome.”

“We will get our hands on the fleeing terrorists, we will correct the failures that might have led to the escape – and if we find professional negligence, we will take care of that as well.”

Nearly all of the escaped prisoners are members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, and all were being held on serious security and terror-related offenses.

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Israel’s security establishment is seriously examining the possibility that prison staff aided in the escape. At least 19 jailers have been questioned so far.

New security policies on the heels of the escape have triggered violent riots in a number of prisons throughout Israel.

Israeli Prison Service commissioner Kati Peri announced that hundreds of prisoners would be transferred from prisons in northern Israel to correctional facilities in the south.

Responding to criticism that the IPS allowed multiple members of PIJ to cell six-man cells, moving forward, only one member of PIJ will be housed in a cell at a time, she added.

In response, prisoners, mostly affiliated with PIJ, set their cells alight in the Ketziot, Ofer, and Ramon prisons.

After the outbreak of violence, the IPS has moved away from the policy of mass transfers.

Family visits for Palestinian security prisoners have been cancelled until further notice and prison staff are reportedly gearing up for more unrest.