Israeli Prison wing closed after same building flaw as Gilboa found

A high-security wing at Eshel Prison was closed after the same construction flaw found at Gilboa Prison was found there.

Eshel Prison (photo credit: ISRAEL PRISON SERVICE)
Eshel Prison

A high-security wing of criminal inmates at Eshel Prison in southern Israel was closed after a geological survey found that it was built on a pile foundation in a way that makes an escape possible, similar to the wing at Gilboa Prison from which the security prisoners escaped, Walla learned on Sunday.

First, the wing was evacuated for the tests, which were carried out following the escape from Gilboa Prison. After the construction failure was discovered, the wing was closed. Engineering tests will be carried out in additional wards of the prison over the next few days to determine their state. 

On Friday, Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev published the names of members of the government committee investigating the failure of the escape of six terrorists from Gilboa Prison about three weeks ago.

The committee will be chaired by retired judge Dr. Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Menachem Finkelstein, who served as vice president of the Central District Court. Prior to that, he served in a number of legal positions in the IDF, and served as, among other things, the Military Advocate General.

The other two members of the committee will be Prof. Efrat Shoham, head of the Department of Criminology at the Ashkelon Academic College, who investigated the Israel Prison Service for years, including riots and hunger strikes, and Eric Barbing - who served 27 years in the Shin Bet and served as head of a division in the organization. During his service, Barbing was involved in thwarting terrorist activities from prison.

After the escape from Gilboa Prison, the staff of the Eshel Prison near Beersheba conducted a check of the integrity of bars and construction in the wing of Hamas prisoners. During the test, a security inmate poured boiling water on an inmate and caused him burns. The prisoner was treated on the spot and was transferred for medical treatment at Soroka Hospital.

The security guards overpowered the prisoner and transferred him to an isolation cell. The prisoner, 53, from east Jerusalem, is serving a 30-year prison sentence for attempted murder and has been in since 2014.

The digging of the tunnel at Gilboa Prison was carried out right under the guards' noses. A senior official told Walla that it was carried out in broad daylight and that on one occasion a warden even came to the cell of the security prisoners while they were digging the tunnel, but did not realize it.

The warden arrived at the cell with a message in his hand to convey to the prisoner Munadil Nafayat, while he was digging the opening of the exit.

His cellmate, prisoner Mohammed Ardah, immediately approached the warden, who was standing outside the cell, and explained to him that Munadil was very tired and went to sleep.

The jailer insisted on talking to Mondal, but in vain. Ardah managed to convince him that Munadil was indeed asleep and that he would give him the message. The jailer gave up and left the cell.