Famous Palestinian Actor Turned Militant Broke Out Of Israeli Prison

A famous Palestinian actor turned militant tunneled himself and five others out of a high-security Israeli prison on Monday, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Zakaria Zubeidi started out as a childhood actor and has developed into a figure for Palestinian “cultural resistance” against Israel, according to the AP. Zubeidi was a child during the first rebellion against Israel in 1987 and participated in the 2000 intifada where his mother, brother and friends died.

“In many ways, he’s the poster kid for Israelis of the Palestinian terror campaign of the second intifada,” retired Israeli military intelligence General Yossi Kuperwasser said, the AP reported. “He’s a Forrest Gump, sort of. He played all the roles.”

Zubeidi escaped from the Gilboa maximum-security prison with five people who were members of an Islamic militant group, four of which were sentenced to life for terrorism, the AP reported. The men escaped by a narrow tunnel dug underneath the prison walls and into the floor of their cell.

“It’s dangerous for him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he would look for an opportunity to speak with somebody to gain some more political clout from his success in escaping prison,” Kuperwasser told the AP.

He was a celebrity in Israel, known for suicide bombings and shootings targeting civilians, according to the AP. Zubeidi was one of the only militants who frequently participated in media interviews.

Now, Zubeidi and the five others who escaped from the prison are revered as national heroes for executing the biggest prison break in recent history, the AP reported.

Zubeidi led the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade during the second intifada in 2000 from a refugee camp in the West Bank, according to the AP. Refugees from the 1948 war over Israel live at the camp, where a major battle with the Israeli army took place in 2002.

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