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Israel allegedly abducted a Palestinian engineer from the Gaza Strip during a visit to Ukraine last month, and he might be currently held in an Israeli prison on terrorism charges, the UN and the Ukrainian media have claimed.
On Thursday, the Ukrainian police said they were investigating the disappearance last month, “under unknown circumstances,” of Dirar Abu Sisi, 42.
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“According to his wife, the missing man may be abroad,” the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said in a statement. “The Interior Ministry is taking steps to establish his location.”
Jerusalem has refused to comment on the affair, according to Reuters, and the Israel Police has issued a courtapproved gag order.
Reuters quoted an official from an Israeli human rights group, who said Abu Sisi was being held at a prison in the South and had been in Israeli custody since February 19.
Abu Sisi is one of the managers of the only power plant in the Gaza Strip, situated near the Nuseirat refugee camp, and is not known to have any direct ties with Hamas or other terrorist organizations, although his senior position was likely the result of political affiliation.
His sister Suzanne Abu Sisi, 45, told Reuters her brother had been abducted from a train in Ukraine last month, then taken to an Israeli prison.
“Friends there told us Dirar had been seized by six people who had abducted him from the train en route between Kharkhov and Kiev,” she told Reuters. “We know now that he is in prison in Israel, so they were the ones who abducted him. We do not know why they did it.”
Suzanne Abu Sisi, who lives in Gaza, said her brother had gone to Ukraine with his Ukrainian wife and six children to apply for citizenship there.
The story, if true, could shine light on the way Israel operates in
friendly countries – such as Ukraine – likely with the assistance of
local security forces, as one foreign news report claimed. The Mossad
has been accused in recent years of assassinating senior terrorists
throughout the world, most recently in Dubai in January 2010, when the
body of top Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was discovered in a hotel
room.Reuters contributed to this report.