Four Palestinians were abducted in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula yesterday evening minutes after entering the country through the Rafah Crossing, the Palestinian government in Gaza reported an eyewitness saying.
The eyewitness reported armed, masked men opening fire on a bus carrying Palestinians who were entering Egypt; they then called four men by name and abducted them. The bus was only a couple of kilometres away from the Rafah Crossing.
The eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were 50 Palestinian passengers on the bus and no Egyptian security staff accompanied them. Egyptian security staff are normally on board buses travelling from the Rafah Crossing to Cairo airport.
“Although the night curfew had started,” the eyewitness said, “the Egyptians insisted the bus start its journey from Rafah to Cairo.”
Spokesman of the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior in Gaza Iyad Al-Bozum said: “We are making urgent contact with the highest levels of the Egyptian authorities to follow up on what happened and we urge the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior to secure the lives of the kidnapped passengers and free them.”
Egyptian security involved
Salama Abu-Rbaa, chief of an Egyptian tribe in Sinai, accused the Egyptian intelligence services of manipulating the abduction of the Palestinians.
He said members of his tribe saw the masked men dismounting an Egyptian armoured vehicle nearby.
The four men are being held in a nearby military outpost near Al-Arish Sea, Abu-Rbaa said.
He warned Palestinians to be careful of the “demonic” agenda of the Egyptian security services.