Report: Palestinians agree to help Israel track down escaped inmates

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fairly difficult
Abbas had been seen as reluctant to aid capture of popular escapees, but report in Lebanese paper linked to Ramallah's rivals claims PA is feeling pressure to tamp down on unrest
A report Friday claimed that the Palestinian Authority had agreed to cooperate with an Israeli manhunt for six inmates who escaped from prison earlier this week, some of whom are thought to be hiding out in the West Bank.

If correct, the report in the Lebanese paper al-Akhbar would mark a stark shift for Ramallah, which had joined the overwhelming chorus of support for the six escapees in the Palestinian street and had been seen as unlikely to possess the political will for cooperating with Israel on bringing them in.

For Israel, which has struggled to track the whereabouts of the former detainees and has contended with an upsurge of violence linked to the escape, help from the PA would provide a welcome boost to reach certain areas of the West Bank.

According to the report in al-Akhbar, which was based on an unnamed source in the PA, an agreement was reached earlier this week that will see the Palestinian Authority cooperate on finding the escapees, in exchange for an Israeli commitment to capture them alive and ease conditions for the thousands of Palestinians remaining incarcerated in Israel.

There was no comment from Israeli authorities on the report.

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The newspaper is seen as closely linked to both Hezbollah and Hamas, which is a rival of the Palestinian Authority and often accuses it of betraying the Palestinian cause by cooperating with Israeli security agencies.

The six Palestinians escaped from the high-security Gilboa Prison in northern Israel in the predawn hours of Monday morning, making…
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