Saturday, 12 October 2013

Gaza man “kidnapped” by Israel in Sinai, says family


The abduction of a Palestinian-Egyptian from the Sinai on the eve of Egypt’s 3 July coup has highlighted the network of collaborators and agents working with Israel in the peninsula.

Wael Abu Rida crossed the Rafah border from Gaza into Egypt on 6 June with his family, including his one-year-old son, Mazen, who suffers from brain atrophy. The trip was nothing unusual, according to Wael’s wife, Amani Abdulrahman Abu Rida, who accompanied him. She and other members of the Abu Rida family are refugees who were forced to flee Salama, east of the coastal Palestinian city of Jaffa, by advancing Zionist forces in April 1948.

The family spoke to the Electronic Intifada at their home in Khuzaa, an agricultural village outside Khan Younis in the southeastern Gaza Strip, close to the barrier wall erected by Israel.

“This was the fourth time he had gone to Egypt for treatment for his son,” Amani said. “We used to stay there fifteen or twenty days for treatment. Nothing had happened before.”

In retrospect, she said, strange things began to happen as soon as the family crossed the border.

“After we reached the Egyptian side of the crossing, a driver approached and insisted on taking us. It costs 450 Egyptian pounds [$65] to go to Cairo, but he offered to take us for 350. In the car, the driver started talking with Wael, saying he had heard of him.” Abu Rida has fought for several Palestinian resistance groups. His past affiliations include stints in Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades.

In a 19 July indictment this year, Israeli prosecutors alleged that Abu Rida belonged to a Hamas-aligned group called the al-Aqsa Defenders (“Gaza man charged with planning terror attacks,” Ynet, 19 July 2013).

His family denies this, saying he ended his last political ties with the al-Quds Brigades after Israel’s 2008-2009 attacks on the Gaza Strip. more

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