Israeli forces beat a Palestinian prisoner who escaped and was subsequently caught, a prisoners’ rights group alleged Wednesday.
Zakaria Zubeidi was allegedly physically beaten during the operation to arrest him, and sustained a broken jaw and two broken ribs. He was treated at an Israeli hospital following the arrest, the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs said in a press release.
Zubeidi, a senior commander of the ruling Fatah party's armed wing, escaped from the high-security Gilboa Prison last week along with five members of the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad. Two of the prisoners were captured last Friday in the Israeli city of Nazareth, with Zubeidi and the fourth prisoner being found the following Saturday. The men were in prison in relation to attacks on Israelis. Two of the prisoners remain on the run.
Prisoner Yaqoub Qadri was also allegedly tortured following his Friday capture. He was placed in a one-by-two-meter cell, his lawyer told the Palestinian Authority’s WAFA news agency.
The Israeli government has not commented on the allegations, but often disputes Palestinian officials’ accounts of such incidents. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett praised the search operation on Saturday.
The highly-publicized escape sent shock waves throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories. Many called for Israeli prison officials to resign. There were solidarity protests with the prisoners in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Gaza-based groups also fired rockets at Israel after the four prisoners were captured, leading to Israel striking Hamas targets.