It all started when two prison wardens noticed a rope hanging down a wall of one of the prison's wings. They immediately took a head count of all the prisoners, and found that two were absent.
In the prison, in which 1,200 security prisoners are jailed, a state of emergency was declared and additional forces were dispatched to the site. A chopper aided the forces in the field during their search. The Israel Prison Service reported that the two that escaped don't have blood on their hands and were approaching the end of their prison sentences.
One of the prisoners was sentenced to seven years in prison for damaging security, and the other was sentenced to three for illegally staying in Israel.
Security was reinforced Wednesday night around the prison and within in it due to impaired visual conditions. During a patrol around the prison, wardens noticed a rope going down one of the walls.
Suspicions immediately arose that prisoners escaped. Searches were performed in all the prison wings, when it was found that two prisoners were missing from the wing in which prisoners live in tents.
Two years ago, control of the prison was transferred from the IDF to Israel Prison Service. Most of the prisoners serving in the prison are security prisoners sentenced to short prison sentences who live in a tent compound. Around the tent compound are an inner ring of iron fences, and then an outer ring made up of a cement wall.
Above the tent compound is a bridge that allows observation of the wings below. Placed around the cement wall are observation towers manned by prison wardens. In addition, wardens perform regular foot patrols of the prison grounds.
Ktziot Prison was first opened in 1988 after the First Intifada broke out, and was closed during the application of the Oslo Accords when many security prisoners were released. After Operation Defensive Shield, the prison was renovated and reopened. The prison sits in the northwest Negev, near the border with Egypt.
Ktziot Prison was the second prison to be transferred from IDF control to the Israel Prison Service as part of revolutionizing the national prison system. The Israel Prison Service website notes that Ktziot Prison is the institution's largest prison facility and is filled with prisoners sentenced for involvement in terror attacks during the al-Aqsa Intifada.
The prison also has a wing for criminal labor prisoners, who are held in the prison.
Ktziot Prison is run by military police soldiers and the security companies of the Home Front Command, according to the IDF's security regulations.