Israel confirms it is holding missing Palestinian

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A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who mysteriously disappeared in Egypt last month is being detained by Israel for “security crimes,” an Israel court confirmed Wednesday, a month after his family charged he was abducted.

The court partially lifted a gag order on the case, identifying the man as Wael Abu Reda, but did not say how or where he was detained or ended up in Israel. The man’s brother, Mansour, said Abu Reda was in Cairo last month trying to obtain Egyptian citizenship as well as medical treatment for his son. He said that on June 20 he told his wife he was going out to meet someone he knows and would return to their rented apartment next day. She says she has not heard from him since.

Two days later, Mansour says he received a phone call from an Israeli official who said Abu Reda was being held in an Israeli prison. He insists his brother was not affiliated with any of the violent militant groups in Gaza and says he doesn’t know why he was detained.

The Beersheba Magistrates Court on Wednesday extended for 10 days a blackout on details of the case, releasing only Abu Reda’s name and the fact that he was detained. It said he was being held for “crimes against the security of the country.”

The case is reminiscent of another Palestinian from Gaza, Dirar Abu Sisi, who vanished on a Ukrainian sleeper train in 2011 and later surfaced in an Israeli prison. The details of his capture and transfer remain unclear and Israel confirmed it was holding him only a month after his disappearance.

Israel accuses Abu Sisi, an engineer, of masterminding Hamas’ rocket program and training gunmen in Gaza. He is charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and weapons production. He denies the charges saying he was a civilian engineer at Gaza’s power plant.

Hamas is considered a terror group by Israel, the U.S. and EU due to its rocket attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli civilians.

Abu Sisi’s Ukrainian wife Veronika, who converted to Islam to marry her husband, said at the time that they were in the Ukraine for her husband to apply for citizenship. She said Ukrainian police told her that two unidentified men boarded her husband’s train car near the central Ukrainian city of Poltava and escorted him out.

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