Photo Credit: David Cohen/Flash90
Hamas escaped terrorist Zakaria Zubeidi brought to court, September 11, 2021.

Minister of Internal Security Omer Barlev on Sunday morning told 103FM following the capture of four out of six escaped terrorists from Gilboa security prison: “We estimate that one of the remaining two terrorists is in Judea and Samaria, the four who were captured don’t know where they are.”

“This assessment comes in the wake of such and such signs that we have discovered—I can’t go into the operational details,” Barlev explained. “We consider the most difficult situation, whereby each of them is in a different place, which means that the pursuit must spread over large areas, even outside the Green Line.”

Minister of Internal Security Omer Barlev, September 5, 2021. / Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

When asked if he fears that the two runaways would carry out an attack, Barlev said: “Fear must always be there, because when people are desperate their actions can’t ever be predicted. As for the captured quartet, they didn’t carry weapons. So the fear is relatively low, but it exists, so all the necessary precautions must be taken.”

Regarding the investigation of the event, Minister Barlev said “the investigation focuses, among other things, on the early stages [of the escape]. It is clear that this is something that stretched over a long period of time, and wasn’t planned in a day or two. The examination committee that I will establish will also investigate these issues.”

When asked if the fugitives received assistance from within the prison and was it possible for them to run such an elaborate operation without inside assistance, Barlev replied: “At this stage, we don’t know about any assistance they received from inside the prison. The answer is no. The facts speak for themselves. So far there’s no information suggesting they received assistance, and this is one of the first issues that was examined. The most reasonable assessment is that they did not receive assistance. One of the questions is how can it be that for such a long period, weeks or more, such an escape was planned and carried out and no red flag was raised by anyone in the Israel Prisons Service. It’s a weighty question that will be examined and investigated, and we will implement the conclusions of that investigation.”

Barlev stressed that Israeli Arabs helped the security forces reach the terrorists: “I can confirm that all the civilians whom the fugitives encountered, including Arabs, acted as expected of an Israeli citizen, and immediately called 100 (Israel’s 911) and informed the police that they had seen such and such suspicious people. This is really very important. It shows that most Israeli Arabs want to integrate and be a part of the country, and understand that the authorities are doing their job.”

Well, the authorities that capture the terrorists, for sure, but the authorities in charge of keeping them captured, not so much…

As to the threats against the families that provided information to the police, Barlev said: “There are threats on social media, general threats. Those who control it are the extremists online, and they express their opinions. There’s talk against the citizens of Israel—including Arab citizens—who did what was expected of them. Fortunately, the IDs of none of these civilians were exposed, including Jews who aided the capture. All this information is confidential and restricted to the police.”

Feel safe.

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