Sahara desert (archives)

Israeli missing in Africa located

Ynet learns man considered missing in North Africa has contacted his family. Earlier, Arab newspaper reports Algeria investigating possible kidnapping of Israeli national by al-Qaeda

The Israeli who went missing in north Africa made contact with his family, Ynet has learned. Ynet first reported this week that Israel was looking into the fate of the citizen, who also holds a foreign passport, and expressed concerns for his wellbeing.


Sources involved in the matter said that the Israeli made contact with his family after a number of days that he was not in contact with them. He explained that he was detained in a number of places and could not phone home. It was also reported that he was indeed detained for a period of time, but was released because of his foreign passport. 


Earlier this week, Ynet reported that an Israeli citizen went missing in North Africa. The man was apparently traveling in the North African region while carrying both a foreign and an Israeli passport.


According to the reports, the Israeli man used his foreign passport to cross between countries. The person's family turned to the Foreign Ministry after a desperate attempt to locate him.


The London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported earlier Friday that Algeria's security services have been investigating the disappearance of an Israeli citizen carrying a Spanish passport in the Sahara Desert area.


According to the report, the country's security organizations fear that the Israeli is being held by the al-Qaeda organization's branch in the "Maghreb Muslim countries".


The Israeli Foreign Ministry is unfamiliar with the report.


Knowledgeable sources told the Arab newspaper that the Algerian security organizations have been investigating the man's disappearance in an area located about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the capital of Algiers.


The same sources reported that according to initial information, the Israeli may have entered Algeria with a French passport. Investigators believe the man may have been kidnapped by radical activists who later sold him to the al-Qaeda terror organization.


If these estimates are true, this is not the first time a foreign national is kidnapped in this area of Algeria, where the country's important oil facilities are located. Thousands of foreigners reside in this area, including technicians working for the oil companies operating in this area.


Breeding grounds for al-Qaeda

The sources further added that it was unclear whether the man was carrying two passports or whether his Spanish passport was fake, and that the reasons for his presence in the Sahara area was also unclear.


Many regions in North Africa have reportedly been used as breeding grounds for al-Qaeda, especially around the al-Maghrib area in north western Africa. Israel has issued many travel warnings against visiting different countries in the African continent.


Three months ago, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a travel warning for Israelis visiting and staying in Mauritius, Ivory Coast, north Nigeria, Togo and Burkina Faso. In the warning it said that terror organizations were planning to execute terror attacks and kidnap Israeli nationals in these countries.


The Bureau warned that al- Qaeda was gaining ground, and is specifically specializing in kidnapping citizens of western countries.


Roee Nahmias contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.26.10, 10:35
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