IDF’s ‘surgical precision’ and media deception led to capture of prison escapees

The capture has been hailed as a massive victory for Israeli intelligence.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Israeli security forces nabbed the final two Palestinian prisoners out of six who escaped from Gilboa Prison two weeks ago, thanks to a daring midnight raid, an arrest so precise it was “surgical,” and a cunning media deception from Israel’s Public Security Minister.

Munadil Nafiyat and Iham Kamamji were apprehended in the early hours of Sunday morning, surrendering peacefully to a special task force composed of IDF troops from elite units, the Shin Bet, and the Israeli police.

Thanks to “precise intelligence that was received by the Shin Bet, which identified the building in which the two were hiding in Jenin,” read a statement from the security agency, the fugitives were nabbed without bloodshed.

“The arrest itself was quite surgical,” an anonymous security official was quoted as saying in an IDF statement.

While the fugitives surrendered without putting up a fight, troops were bombarded by Molotov cocktails, improvised explosive devices, and even live gunfire from Jenin locals. No IDF casualties were reported.

The capture has been hailed as a massive victory for Israeli intelligence.

“The arrest of the two prisoners shows that Israel has collaborators in Jenin,” Abdullah al-Natour, a resident of the city, told the Jerusalem Post.

“Unfortunately, collaborators have always existed not only in Jenin, but in most cities, villages and refugee camps.”

But Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev also played a major role in the operation, by pulling off a media deception which likely caused the fugitives to let their guard down.

In an interview on Saturday evening, he said that Israeli authorities believed one of the fugitives was in Israel, when he knew that the fugitive was in fact in the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jenin.

“As time passed, we knew they were in Jenin,” Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai told Hebrew language media on Sunday morning.

“We prepared for several days for a complex mission. And tonight, after receiving the information we had been waiting for, the signal was given to start the operation, with special forces at the forefront.”

A Fatah-affiliated Jenin resident said that local terror groups were caught off guard by the IDF’s operation in the neighborhood where the fugitives had been hiding.

“The two men were arrested outside the [refugee] camp,” he told the Post.

“Were they staying inside the camp, the Israeli army would not have been able to catch them. We had dozens of armed men waiting for the army.”