According to an Egyptian source, three Egyptian police officers and one senior police official who were kidnapped by gunmen in the Sinai in February, 2011, during the rebellion against former President Hosni Mubarak, are most likely being held by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, Yoni Alpert’s Terror Watch reports.
The four hostages are Mohammed Mustafa Johrei, Sharif Al Adawi, Mohammed Hussein Walid Saad El-Din.
Based on information obtained by sources associated with the Egyptian security system, and which has come to the attention of the kidnapped men’s families, it appears likely that a force comprised of Bedouins and Islamist extremists kidnapped the officers close to the town of El Arish in the northern Sinai, while the officers were securing the Egyptian border with Gaza in Rafah. The same source speculate that the officers were later sold to the of Army of Islam terror organization, headed by Mumtaz Durmush.
The Army of Islam , affiliated with the Salafi movement and the Global Jihad, is based in Gaza but also operates extensively in the Sinai. The purpose of imprisoning the officers for such a long time is to pressure the Egyptian leadership to release radical Islamists from prisons in Egypt, and to remove the restrictions on the free movement of Muhammad al-Zawahiri, leader of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the younger brother of Al Qaeda’s top man.
Al-Zawahiri was released from an Egyptian jail in March. Since his release, he has been stating that nothing has changed after the toppling of Mubarak, and that he has no faith in the regime of Mohammed Morsi or in Egyptian democracy. He also advocates waging a religious war against the Jews and Israel.
Egyptian sources suspect that Hamas officials have known about the kidnapping and even took part in it. Among the suspects is senior Hamas commander Ayman Nofal, who served as commander of the Hamas military wing in central Gaza when he was caught by Egyptian security forces in 2008 after infiltrating into Egyptian territory and attempting to launch terrorist attacks there. Nofal escaped from Egyptian prison and fled back to Gaza Strip during last year’s upheaval in Egypt.
The Families of the kidnapped officers blame the Egyptian leadership for neglecting to investigate and seek the release of their loved ones using the new regime’s close ties with Hamas. They also condemn President Morsi, himself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, off refusing to meet with them and shirking his responsibility for the safety of Egyptian officers.