Prison authorities failed to reinforce shower-area floors despite similar escape attempt in 2014.
By David Hellerman, World Israel News
The six Palestinian terrorists who escaped from the Gilboa Prison on Monday managed to dig a tunnel from their cell’s shower basin.
Those were the initial findings of the Israel Prison Service’s investigation into the state’s most serious jailbreak, according to Kan News.
The findings go back to a similar unsuccessful escape attempt in 2014 when prisoners at Gilboa began digging a tunnel under their toilet.
Prison authorities replaced the toilet bowls and reinforced the floor with concrete and metal. But the floors under the shower area were not similarly reinforced.
The Gilboa prison is a high security facility in northern Israel, located between Nazareth and Beit Shean. The escapees made their way out of the prison through the drainage system.
Security forces are still looking for the six. It is believed that some of the fugitives have already reached Jordan while others are hiding in Palestinian villages in Judea and Samaria, with the assistance of locals.
The escapees are considered highly dangerous. Four were serving life sentences for deadly terror attacks.
In further security lapses, a guard tower overlooking the tunnel’s exit was unmanned during the breakout. Hebrew media reports indicated the tower was empty due to a manpower shortage and budgetary constraints. Moreover, a security camera was pointed at the tunnel’s opening, but nobody was watching its video feed.
Reports also said that a guard in a nearby tower was asleep at the time.
A commission of inquiry will investigate Gilboa’s security failures.
Fallout from the breakout continued to spread. Palestinian prisoners in other jails have rioted in response to Israel Prison Service security measures. Palestinians and Israeli security forces clashed in several locations across Judea and Samaria, and Hamas and other terror groups called for a “Day of Rage” on Friday.
Israeli security forces are preparing for an escalation of violence.