Israeli security forces captured two of six Palestinian security prisoners who broke out of a high-level detention facility earlier this week, at the tail end of an intense five-day manhunt, a police spokeswoman confirmed on Friday.
The six Palestinians tunneled out of the Gilboa Prison on Monday, setting off a furious manhunt across Israel and in the West Bank. The escape has exposed major flaws in Israel's prison service and set off days of angry criticism and finger pointing.
The two escapees were captured late Friday on Mount Precipice near the Arab city of Nazareth in northern Israel, not far from where the prison they escaped from is located, the spokeswoman said in a statement.
The two fugitives were identified as Yaqoub Qadiri, 49, and Mohammad al-Arida, 39 - both members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group.
The pair were caught after a local resident alerted the police, telling them two "Palestinian workers" asked her for food and had earlier been rampaging through local trash containers.
The two were not armed at the time of their arrest and did not resist it. They were taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet domestic security agency.
A video circulating on social media showed Israeli police putting a man into the backseat of a police vehicle and asking the suspect for his name.
The man, wearing jeans and green T-shirt, calmly identifies himself as Qadiri and answers "yes" when asked whether he is one of the escapees. Qadiri was serving two life sentences for attempted murder and bomb planting.
Four other prisoners remain at large, including Zakaria Zubeidi - a former commander of the mainstream Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, who was convicted in several deadly attacks and was serving a life sentence before escaping.
All of the prisoners are from the nearby city of Jenin in the West Bank and all but one belong to PIJ.
Shortly after their capture, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, believed to be from the Islamic Jihad, fired rockets at Israeli communities near the border.
Associated Press contributed to this report
First published: 22:06, 09.10.21