A commander from an elite Israel Border Police unit described to Israeli media on Sunday the capture of the last two Palestinian terrorists who escaped Israel’s Gilboa Prison, recalling the “feeling of great satisfaction that the circle had been closed” after the escapees were apprehended.
Terrorists Iham Kamamji and Munadil Nafiyat were arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning in a joint IDF-Shin Bet-Border Police operation after two weeks on the run. The men surrendered without firing a shot after they were surrounded at their hideout in the West Bank town of Jenin.
The four other terrorists who escaped with them had already been found and arrested last week.
Chief Superintendent S. of the elite Border Police unit Yamam (National Counter Terrorism Unit) took part in Sunday’s operation, and told Israeli news site Walla, “The feeling on the way [to Jenin] was a strong desire to close the circle with the terrorists and that our forces should return from Jenin in peace.”
S. said that Jenin was always a focus of interest, due to the terrorists’ connections to the town, especially after information reached the manhunters that at least one of the escapees had crossed the border with the West Bank.
“Already yesterday night we prepared to enter” Jenin, he said. “At a certain point we received intelligence indications that the terrorists were located there.”
Preparations were quickly made, with the Shin Bet security service zeroing in on the terrorists’ precise location. When the security forces reached the area, they located the terrorists at a site that presented a challenge due to the presence of a large number of civilians.
S. said that Israeli forces quickly took control of the building where the terrorists were located, “especially once we understood that there were innocent families there.”
“The terrorists examined the area very well,” he stated. “They understood that they were surrounded and had no chance of escape. So, they started coming out one by one.”
“When they came out, we didn’t know for sure that these were the terrorists,” S. added. “They immediately identified themselves to us and said their names and identity numbers, and so we understood that we had closed the circle.”
“It was a feeling of great satisfaction that the circle had been closed and that our forces returned in peace,” he said of the aftermath of the operation.
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Author: Benjamin Kerstein
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