On Aug. 19 of last year, unidentified gunmen abducted four Palestinians as they travelled through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula from the Gaza Strip’s Rafah border crossing to Cairo International Airport. Until now, their fate remains unknown.
On August 22 this year, Al-Jazeera satellite channel published photos for Zanoun and Abu Lebdeh while detained with a group of prisoners almost naked in one of the Egyptian security headquarters in the country.
Al-Jazeera satellite channel unveiled a leaked photo showing two young men of the four Palestinian passengers who had been kidnapped last year by masked gunmen in Rafah area. The picture shows a group of detained young men sitting on the floor of a long corridor in Cairo’s Lazoghli prison, where two Palestinian abductees.
The picture reflected the miserable incarceration conditions and the inhumane treatment of prisoners in the jail. Masked gunmen, believed to be from an Egyptian security apparatus, had kidnapped the two young men along with Abdullah Abu al-Jubain, and Hussein al-Zebdeh on August 18, 2015. The four abducted young men were traveling legally for study and treatment in Turkey and kidnapped from abroad a passenger bus after it crossed the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing.
Many Demonstrations demanding that Egypt disclose the fate of four Palestinians kidnapped last year in the volatile Sinai Peninsula., as the “Popular Committee for Solidarity with the Palestinians Kidnaped in Egypt”.
“One year has passed since the abduction of our relatives while they were travelling through Egypt,” committee member Mohamed Abu Libdeh said at a press conference held during the protest, , outside the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City.
“We pray for their safety and call on Egypt to disclose their fate,” he added.
“We call on international rights groups to take up the cause of the people of the Gaza Strip to ensure them the right of movement,” Abu Libdeh said.
“We also appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to shoulder his responsibility for the Palestinian people of Gaza,” he added.
Middle East Observer had a meeting with the mother of one of those who were kidnapped, and whose photo appeared on Al-Jazeera. Abduddayem Abu Lebdeh’s mother said:”When I saw that photo of my son, I was shocked as I did not imagine that this could happen to him, and I did not expect one day to see him in this way. He was sitting in the same way that he used to sit when he was sad. Is this the place of my son who studied engineering at university? He was sitting on the ground in a damp and dark place among prisoners whom I do not know. She said: “I call upon every person has a conscience and humanity to feel a sense of mother who lost her son and does not know anything about him, since I do not know anything about him I did not hear his voice and no one told us anything about him, no one can tell us the place where it resides ” She adds: “Officials do not know anything here also say they did not know something tangible and there was no sign of confirming the place where the son resides and his three friends.” I ask the Egyptian government to prosecute my son if he did anything that will harm of a policy of Egypt to a fair trial and do not let him hidden without knowing about him anything, if he is wrong, put him on trial if he is not, they must to return him to us.”
Abu Lebdeh’s mother also said: “I call upon every person who has a conscience and humanity to sympathize with what a mother who lost her son can feel. I do not know anything about him. I did not hear his voice and no one told me anything about him, or where he is detained”
She added: “Officials here do not know anything about my son or his whereabouts together with his three friends. I call upon the Egyptian government to bring my son to justice, or to release him” .
We met also some passers-by in Gaza. However, their opinions did not differ from Abu Lebdeh’s mother. They asked for an immediate release of the four young men and returning them to their families.
Um Karim Abu Kwik, 45 years old, said, “I felt great pain when I saw the photos of the young men on Al-Jazeera satellite channel, and I imagined that one of my sons could be at this difficult and painful position.
She added: “I wish they would shortly return to their parents safely. I know very well how their mothers feel, and I urge the Egyptian authorities to let them come back to Gaza Strip and to their families.”
Also, Mahmoud Alian, 37 years old, called the Egyptian government to clarify the reality of the photos published by Al-Jazeera satellite channel, to relieve the stress of the families of the kidnapped. I know that their pain increased after seeing these images.
He added that “the Egyptian government must clarify the reasons for their abduction, as we are blood brothers of the Egyptian people. It is enough for us to suffer from Israeli occupation!”
For its part, the Arab Organization for Human Rights in UK (AOHR) called on Egypt to announce the fate of the four abducted Gazans who were kidnapped by armed men north of Sinai after they had passed Rafah border crossing into an Egyptian-controlled area a year ago, said In a statement.
Later, The Hamas leader Salah al-Bardawil revealed that Egyptian authorities put difficult conditions on his Movement for releasing the abducted four Gazans, saying that many brokers intervened in vein.
In a statement to Al-Jazeera satellite channel, Bardawil said Egypt has to bring the four Gazans, who were kidnapped within Egyptian land hundreds of meters far from Rafah crossing, to trial if it has charges against them. He demanded releasing their location according to international norms and regulations.
The spokesman of al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, said in a festival that al-Qassam has been exerting efforts for returning the four kidnapped Palestinians.
Earlier this week, Palestinian youths participated in a 40-kilometer bicycle rally from Gaza city to Rafah Crossing gate calling for the release of the abducted four Gazans in Egypt. The participants wore T-shirts with photos of the kidnapped on them and read “return the abducted”. The event was initiated after a leaked photo of two of the kidnapped showing them held under a humiliating tough condition in an Egyptian jail was published last Monday. Gunmen kidnapped the four Gazan people: Yaser Zanoun, Hussein al-Zebdeh, Abdullah Abu al-Jebein and Abdul Dayem Abu Lebdeh on August 19, 2015 after passing Rafah crossing while heading to Turkey through Egypt for treatment and study purposes. Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas Movement, announced then that the four men are members in the Brigades. Hamas, for its part, held the Egyptian authorities fully responsible for their lives and called for releasing them and ending their suffering.