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Israel bombs Gaza as four of the six escaped Palestinian political prisoners recaptured

ISRAELI warplanes pummelled the Gaza Strip today, causing damage to buildings and infrastructure, as Tel Aviv intensifies pressure on the Palestinian people in the wake of last week’s daring jailbreak from Gilboa prison.

Missiles struck a site near the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the early hours of the morning, according to the Palestinian Safa news agency.

Israeli helicopters also attacked a site to the west of Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza, while warplanes bombed a coastal road west of Rafah on the Egyptian border.

The Israeli military claimed that it was responding to rockets launched from the besieged Palestinian territory on Saturday, its stock justification for launching such attacks.

But Hamas, which governs Gaza, accused Tel Aviv of retribution and the collective punishment of Palestinians after six prisoners escaped from the maximum-security Gilboa prison last Sunday.

Spokesman Hazem Qasem said: “The zionist shelling on Gaza is part of its assaults against our people in Jerusalem …”

The jailbreak, seen as a humiliation for the Israeli authorities, sparked mass protests across Gaza and the occupied West Bank demanding freedom for all political prisoners.

The Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party called for “an uprising” in all Palestinian towns and villages last week in response to the escape.

It insisted that the issue of freedom for jailed Palestinians would be “a red line” in any peace process.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, described the prisoners today as “heroes of the Palestinian people,” insisting that they are “as sacred as Jerusalem.”

Israeli security services had recaptured four of the six escaped prisoners by the time the Morning Star went to press.

One of them, Zakaria Zubaidi, was transferred to an Israeli hospital on Saturday for urgent medical treatment after allegedly being beaten and tortured by Israeli forces after his arrest.

Mr Zubaidi, a former commander of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, had been held in administrative detention since 2019 without being charged or brought to trial.

Mahmoud Arda, Yaaqob Qadri and Mohammad Arda have also been recaptured, with a court in Nazareth remanding them in custody for nine days.

They will face additional charges, including “jailbreak, planning an armed attack, conspiring to escape the prison and associating with a prohibited organisation”, according to the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees Affairs.

The men have been denied access to their lawyers amid growing concerns for their health and wellbeing.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad vowed to liberate the prisoners once more.

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