Leading figure of the Hamas Islamic movement Salah Al–Bardawil said that Egyptian authorities are “holding hostage” four Palestinians and members of the group in security detention centres, while claiming that the Egyptian side has put out “harsh demands” for their release.
The statements come days after the publication of a picture allegedly showing a corridor in an Egyptian National Security apparatus building, where the faces of two of the kidnapped individuals can be seen. They were identified as Abdel Daym Abu Labda and Yasser Zaytoon.
Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channel published the picture, affirming that the families of the individuals have identified their relatives.
The published picture showed approximately nine detainees in a corridor. Local Palestinian media said that the families identified two of their relatives,
The four Palestinians were abducted on 19 August 2015 as they were crossing the Rafah border from Gaza in order to head to Cairo.
At the time of the kidnapping, Hamas and its militant arm Al-Qassam Brigades said that armed personnel stopped a bus carrying passengers and called out the names of the people they abducted. Initially they called on Egyptian authorities to find and arrest the kidnappers so as not to “affect Palestinian-Egyptian relations at a time when both parties are seeking to consolidate this relationship”.
One year after the kidnapping, the group has publically accused Egypt of holding them hostage.
Al–Bardawil told Al-Jazeera Monday that the latest visit of a Hamas delegation discussed the matter with the Egyptian side, but in vain. He demanded that if they are accused of committing any crime they should stand trial.
In a conference for Al-Qassam Brigades South of Gaza, leader Abu Ubaeda said in a speech: “the leadership of Al-Qassam affirms that the file of those four jihadists are continually present [in our minds], and that it is doing all it can to return our kidnapped sons.”
At the beginning of the year, Egyptian Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Gaffar accused Hamas of training suspects who were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the assassination of former prosecutor general Hisham Barakat in 2015.
According to the minister, the suspects, who are members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, received military training by elements of the Gaza-based Hamas organisation, which infiltrated national borders.