Public Security Minister Omer Barlev has admitted that he deliberately lied to the Israeli public about the whereabouts of the Palestinian fugitives who were captured in Jenin.
Barlev had told Channel 12 that one of them was likely hiding inside Israel when in fact he knew that the suspect was being tracked to the Palestinian city of Jenin, where both fugitives were arrested a few hours later.
The minister’s spokesperson confirmed to The Times of Israel that Barlev lied to the interviewer.
“Yes, it was a deception,” the spokesman said, presumably aimed more at deceiving the prison escapees than the public.
Meanwhile, a member of the security forces who carried out the operation, Commander H., told Ynet that they were focused on Jenin from the outset of the two-week manhunt.
Regarding the recapture: “We had intelligence that pointed to the building where the fugitives were hiding,” H. said. “After we were given the go-ahead, it took us no more than 20 minutes to head out. We wanted them to be in that building and for this saga to end.”
“We feel like we’ve reached a closure,” H said. “When we arrived at the hideout, the fugitives realized they were surrounded and surrendered without a fight.
“At first, we were not sure that those were the men we were chasing after and only when they approached us could we confirm their identity. We were thrilled that there were no casualties and the operation wrapped up the way it did. It is a fantastic feeling.”
Palestinian sources said that another local was detained by security forces for giving the fugitives shelter.