Meet the Mastermind behind the Gilboa Prison Break
Mahmoud Abdallah al-Arida, the leader of the escape from the Gilboa Prison, was born in Jenin, in 1975, and has a long history of resistance against the Israeli occupation.
After announcing the escape of 6 Palestinian prisoners from the Gilboa prison, north of occupied Palestine, and the Islamic Jihad confirming to Al Mayadeen that Mahmoud Al-Arida, the "prince" of the Resistance's prisoners in Gilboa Prison, is also the leader of the prisoner escape, much was said about the man across the social media.
Who is this mastermind?
He was born on November 8, 1975, in Arraba, Jenin, north of the occupied West Bank, and spent 25 consecutive years in prison.
Al-Arida's mother told Al Mayadeen that he was first arrested in 1992, in his first year of high school, and was sentenced by the occupation to 4 years in prison, despite his young age. He spent 41 in incarceration before he was released after the Oslo I Accord, in 1994.
Occupation forces once again arrested al-Arida on September 21, 1996, accusing him of being part of the Islamic Jihad's military wing and partaking in resistance operations that killed Israeli soldiers.
Al-Arida was subjected to a lot of oppression during his long sentence, as he was placed in solitary confinement on June 19, 2011, and after 4 months of solitary, an internal court renewed his confinement for another 60 days, without stating the reason behind the decision.
The occupation's prison service reimprisoned him on June 11, 2014, after an escape tunnel was discovered in Shatta prison. He was sent to solitary for more than a year.
متخيلين شو يعني محمود العارضة؟ المجد لسرايا القدس.. سرايا الشمس❤️— هيلان 𓂆 (@Helanpal) September 6, 2021
Al-Arida is one of the Islamic Jihad's leaders in occupation prisons and was elected member of the Movement's high leadership council in occupation prisons and a deputy of the council's secretary-general. He also had a book published during that time and was sentenced to life, with an additional fifteen years, which he was last serving in the Gilboa Prison.
Last year, freed prisoner Hoda al-Arida, Mahmoud's sister, told Al Mayadeen in a phone call from Gaza that her 73-year old mother wishes to see Mahmoud again before she dies and to see him married, just as she was happy the day four of her children were released from prison. At the time, she said Mahmoud was in Gilboa prison and that he was in high spirits and in good health.
Al-Arida wrote a number of books entitled: The Fiqh of Jihad and The Influence of Sheikh Ghazali on the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, as well as other writings he hoped (before his escape) he would be able to publish despite his imprisonment.