Israeli troops have arrested family members of several Palestinian fugitives during overnight raids in the northern West Bank, Times of Israel reports, as the massive manhunt continued for six escaped prisoners.
The Times quotes Palestinian prisoner support and human rights association as saying on Wednesday that at least seven family members of the escapees were detained by Israeli soldiers throughout the occupied West Bank, though some were held only briefly.
Among those reportedly arrested were relatives of Mahmoud and Mohammed Al-Arida in the town of Arraba, Palestine, the newspaper said.
“The brothers are members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group who were serving life sentences when they and four others escaped from Gilboa prison early Monday in what is considered to be among the most serious jailbreaks in the country’s history.”
On Monday, six Palestinian prisoners broke out of a high-security prison in Northern Israel. They reportedly escaped through a tunnel and appeared to have received some outside help.
Israeli troops are searching for the Palestinians with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordering an “across-the-board effort by the security forces” to find the escapees.
Frustrated by their inability to track down the six escapees, BBC reports the Israeli authorities have already stopped Islamic Jihad prisoners from associating with each other and taken other punitive measures.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad has warned that any retaliatory actions against its fighters would elicit a harsh response. It also warned that the injury or death of the escapees would lead to military retaliation.