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June 29
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An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced six Palestinian prisoners to five years in prison for escaping from prison, AP reported.

Last year they dug a tunnel in their cell and escaped from a maximum security prison, making the biggest escape in decades.

This escape led to a massive manhunt in the north of the country and the West Bank looking for fugitives who were members of Palestinian militant groups. A few days later they were caught.

The judge ruled that the sentencing took into account the fact that the prison break paralyzed the country for several days, the cost it took to capture the prisoners, and the damage to public safety caused by the escape of life-sentenced prisoners convicted of serious crimes.

The five-year sentence will be added to the terms that the prisoners have already served. Five other prisoners charged with facilitating the escape were sentenced to an additional four years.

Israel considers all six fugitives to be terrorists. Five of them are members of the Islamic Jihad militant group, four of them are serving life sentences.

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