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September 9, 2021 11:53 am
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IDF Preparing for Escalation as Manhunt Continues for Escaped Terrorists

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli soldiers guard along a fence leading to the West Bank, as part of search efforts to capture six Palestinian men who had escaped from Gilboa prison earlier this week, by the village of Muqeibila in northern Israel September 9, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The IDF is preparing for possible escalation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as the manhunt continued on Thursday for six terrorists who escaped Gilboa Prison earlier this week.

Israeli news outlet N12 reported that security forces are concerned about possible widespread violence if and when the terrorists are captured.

Security forces believe such violence is possible whether the terrorists are apprehended alive or are killed resisting arrest.

Another concern is the possibility that the escapees are receiving help from Israeli Arabs, raising the prospect of violence within Israel’s borders similar to the riots that occurred in May.

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has instructed the security establishment to prepare for escalation on Israel’s southern border with Gaza.

Following consultations with defense officials on Wednesday, Bennett said that the government is “prepared for any scenario,” according to a spokesperson.

The Hamas terrorist group, which rules Gaza, has called for a “day of rage” on Friday in support of the escaped terrorists.

The massive manhunt currently underway is centered in and around the West Bank town of Jenin, where extensive roadblocks and checkpoints have been set up, and all cars in or out of the area are being searched.

Drones and undercover units have also been deployed throughout the area. Crossing points in the West Bank security fence have also been closed down.

Israel’s Walla news reported Thursday that Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev has announced the establishment of a government committee to investigate the errors that led to the prisoners’ escape. The composition of the committee has not been revealed.

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