On Tuesday, Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said the escapees included prisoners who "had not agreed to the initiative to halt violence and are still convinced that society is godless and this is a great threat." "We need a lot of effort to get them back (to jail)," he continued.
Hizballah operative Sami Chehab escaped from an Egyptian prison and made it safely to Beirut last week. Chehab was sentenced to 15 years in prison last year on charges that he was plotting attacks in Egypt.
Ayman Noufel, a prominent member of Hamas' military wing Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, arrived in the Gaza Strip Saturday after escaping an Egyptian prison. Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh visited Noufel the next day, congratulating him on being free. Noufel, detained in 2007 in El Arish, returned to Gaza via underground smuggling tunnels. He was reportedly one of eight Palestinians who escaped from the Abu Za'abel prison, six of whom returned to Gaza.
Hassan Washah was the first Palestinian known to have escaped from the Abu Za'abel prison and return to Gaza. "I thank God that the will of the Egyptian people has led to my escape. What did I do to be imprisoned by an Arab regime?" Washah said. He had explosives on him which were to be used to attack Israel when he was captured by Egyptian authorities in 2007.
Asked whether he belongs to the Army of Islam, a Gaza terrorist group linked to al-Qaida, he said "It is true that I was assisted by the Army of Islam, but at the end of the day I consider myself a Palestinian fighter." Al Jazeera TV reported that upon returning to Gaza Washah said "his armed resistance against Israel will continue."