Police: African migrants were held hostage by gangs in Sinai

Kidnappers demanded ransom from relatives of people who wanted to infiltrate border into Israel to join their families; two men indicted.

eilat african refugees 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )
eilat african refugees 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )

Two men, from Eritrea and Ethiopia, were involvedin kidnapping Africans who tried to infiltrate Israel, according to anindictment filed against them at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court onThursday.

TheAfrican immigrants were allegedly held hostage in Sinai and sufferedabuse, while the kidnappers contacted their relatives in Israel anddemanded ransom.

The men, Nagasi Habatti and Fatwei Mahri, cooperated with gangsin Egypt and smugglers, as well as with contact people inside Israel,the indictment alleged.

Israeli authorities launched an investigation into the matterafter two migrant workers from Eritrea and Ethiopia told police thattheir relatives who had tried to come to Israel were being held inSinai for the last two months.

A third man investigated on suspicion of involvement in the plot, an Eritrean citizen, was put on conditional release.