Four of the six Palestinian prisoners who escaped from a high-security prison earlier this week have been arrested, Israeli police said. Two were found early Saturday in a parking lot, police said.
The other pair were arrested on Friday near the city of Nazareth.
A manhunt was launched on Monday after the six prisoners were released from Gilboa Prison in northern Israel, during the first Palestinian prison break on this scale in 20 years.
The incident came after what the Israeli media called a series of “mistakes” by officials.
Palestinian militant groups at the time viewed the escape as a “heroic” hand.
It is believed that the refugees dug a hole in the bottom of their cell for several months. This led to a cavity under the prison, which was created when piles were sunk into the ground during construction.
It is believed that they crossed the room to reach the outer wall of the prison, and then dug a tunnel, which came out in the middle of a dirt road, just below a watchtower.
CCTV footage captured them as they left the tunnel around 1:30 a.m. Monday. But the alarm was only raised at 4:00 a.m. after residents reported seeing “suspicious figures” in fields near the prison.
Israeli media have blamed the jailbreak for a series of security flaws.
They include the publication of a blueprint of the prison on the website of the architects involved in its construction; the placement of six prisoners from the West Bank city of Jenin in the same cell, including three due to the high risk of escape; and the decision not to turn on a jamming device that would have stopped them using smuggled cell phones to communicate with people outside the prison.
There were also unconfirmed reports that the guard, who was stationed in the watchtower next to the tunnel exit, was asleep during the escape.
The other five – Mahmoud Ardah, Mohammed Ardah, Iham Kamamji, Yaqoub Qadri and Munadil Infaat – are members of the Islamic Jihad militant group. Four of them are facing life sentences after being convicted of plotting or carrying out attacks that killed Israelis.