Jenin terrorist leaders: these are the terrorists who escaped from Gilboa Prison

September 8, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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These are the terrorists who escaped from Gilboa Prison in the north of Israel on Monday night.

Gazans Celebrate Terrorists’ Escape
Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

The six made their escape by way of a tunnel that they dug.

Like something out of a movie, such as Clint Eastwood’s Escape from Alcatraz, the men were somehow able to secretly dig a tunnel underneath the sink in their room without it being detected by the prison guards. Films of the tunnel shown on Israeli television showed that it connected to an underground opening through which the terrorists were able to escape to the outside.

The escape is especially disconcerting to the Israeli population right now as the country is about to celebrate the Rosh Hashana, New Year, holiday. It begins this evening and lasts for two days. Last year the country was under a nationwide closure due to the Coronavirus, so no one could travel. But this year the country is open and tens of thousands of Israelis are taking to the highways to visit family and friends over the holiday, or to just go to the beach and so forth.

A massive manhunt was undertaken as soon as the escape was uncovered. Israeli police, soldiers and prison service personnel were called in to search for the prisoners.

Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office said, “The defense minister ordered reinforcements to the border crossings and to the area around the frontier, while preparing to conduct whatever actions are needed to catch the terrorists, in close coordination with the Shin Bet security service and other security services.”

The escaped terrorists obviously pose a security concern. They are likely attempting to find their way into somewhere under the control of the Palestinian Authority where they can find protection and possibly, eventually, return to their terrorist activities.

But Northern District chief Shimon Ben-Shabo told the Israeli public that they need not cancel any holiday plan. “There is no reason to change your routines, but there will be large numbers of troops within the cities of Afula and Beit She’an and in other towns. I do request additional awareness of anything suspicious,” said Ben-Shabo said in a statement.

In the past hour, Israeli security officials said that they believe that the escaped terrorists split up and that two of them have already succeeded in escaping over the border into Jordan. The other four are believed to currently be located somewhere in the Jenin area in a place that is under the authority of the P.A. and not Israel.

Mahmoud Ardeh
Mahmoud Ardeh planned the escape and is now being called the “Prince of Prisoners” by his supporters. In 2014, Yaakov Kadri tried to dig a tunnel in Shata Prison and failed, until this morning. Iham Kammaji is responsible for the abduction and murder of the late Eliyahu Oshri and Muhammad Aarda recruited suicide bombers.
Arda was in close contact with Yahya Zabeidi, Zechariah Zabeidi’s brother, who was included in the wanted agreement with the Palestinian Authority, returned to terrorism and fled tonight. Arda and Kadri completed a master’s degree in prison

The prisoners who escaped tonight from Gilboa Prison all come from the Jenin area and all have a murderous record of breaking the terrorist organizations. Five of the fugitives are members of the Islamic Jihad, but the most famous of them is Zakaria Zabeidi, commander of the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs” in the Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive Shield.

Zakaria Zbeidi
Zakaria Zbeidi, 46, is a native of Jenin and a member of Fatah’s revolutionary council. This morning, his Fatah friends called him “the dragon that defeats the hunter.”

Zabeidi is responsible for the murderous attack on the Likud office in Beit She’an, in which six Israelis were killed. Zabeidi is considered one of the most famous figures in Jenin as commander of the “Al-Aqsa Martyrs.” He commanded them during Operation Defensive Shield in a battle in which 15 IDF soldiers were killed.

In the early 2000s, Zabeidi collaborated with Islamic Jihad members in the Jenin camp and even said that he had ties to Hezbollah. His brother, Yahya, collaborated with some of the jihadists who escaped tonight with Zechariah from Gilboa Prison.

Zabeidi was captured but released as part of a prisoner release agreement between Israel and the P.S. After years of enjoying the spotlight of the Israeli and foreign media, Zabeidi was arrested in 2019 when he returned to terrorist activity together with the Jerusalem lawyer, Tarek Barghout.

In 2004, the Washington Post published a sympathetic article about Zbeidi describing him as one who works to make peace and “forgiveness” between families and who cares for the poor and the sick. For years he served as “Jenin’s sheriff” and used violence against criminals. Zbeidi once punished a rapist by shooting him in the leg in front of camp residents.

Mahmoud Arda
Mahmoud Ardeh, 46, a native of Araba near Jenin, was arrested in 1992 and sentenced to four years in prison. In 1996 he was again sentenced to life in prison plus 15 years for murdering Israelis in terrorist acts. Islamic Jihad claims that Arda is the one who planned the escape operation and is now called by the jihad “prince of the prisoners.” He is also a member of the leadership of the extremist organization.

Muhammad Arda is the brother of Mahmoud Arda. Muhammad, 39, was recruited to jihad like many others, in the Great Mosque in the village of Araba and was an active member of the organization in high schools and an apprentice in groups for the study of Islam.

Muhammad Arda was in close contact with Yahya Zabeidi, the brother of Zechariah Zabeidi, who also fled escaped. He worked alongside Fatah’s “Martyrs of Al-Aqsa” and Haza’s “Abu Ali Mustafa Battalions” to establish joint squads until his arrest by Israel. He was sentenced to three life sentences. In prison, he completed a master’s degree, like many of his friends

Yakuuv Kadri
Yakuuv Kadri, 49, also an Islamic Jihad operative, was a resident of the village of Bir Basha. Kadri and Zabeidi have known each other for many years. During the “Defensive Shield” operation, Kadri took part in a battle in the Jenin refugee camp, commanded by Zakaria Zabeidi. In 2014, Kadri tried to dig a tunnel in Shata Prison, but failed.
Kadri was friends with Mahmoud Twalba, one of the GAP leaders, who was responsible for many suicides and himself took part in shootings that led to the murder of two Israelis, while his squad members carried out a suicide operation near Umm al-Fahm, in which several Israelis were killed and the suicide operation near Megiddo Prison.

Kadri was sentenced to life in prison in 2003 and during his imprisonment completed his undergraduate studies

Iham Kammaji
Iham Kammaji was also a member of the Islamic Jihad. The 35-year-old was born in the village of Dan, near Jenin. This was not his first escape. Iham Kammaji, who is responsible for the abduction and murder of the late Israeli Eliyahu Oshri, was arrested by the IDF in Ramallah in 2006, a week after he was released from the Palestinian Authority prison. He was sentenced to two life sentences.

Manadel Nafiaat
Manadel Nafiaat, 26, was a resident of the village of Ya’bad. He enlisted in the Islamic Jihad and until his arrest in 2019 by Israel, took part in terrorist acts against IDF forces.

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