Egypt holds suspect in Schalit kidnapping
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST May. 18, 2009
The Egyptian security services have arrested a Gazan university student in
connection with the kidnapping of IDF soldier St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit,
sources close to Hamas revealed on Monday.
The suspect, Ahmed Atta, 22, is the son of an Egyptian man and a Palestinian
The father, Mahmoud, previously served as an imam and has been wanted by
Egypt's General Intelligence Service for nearly a decade on suspicion of
membership in a radical Islamic organization and plotting terrorist attacks
against government institutions and foreign tourists in Egypt, the sources
The father is believed to have fled to the Gaza Strip when the Palestinians
knocked down the security barrier along the border with Egypt for 11 days in
Egyptian security officers initially arrested Ahmed Atta shortly after he
and his mother, Aisha, crossed the border from the Gaza Strip into Egypt
several weeks ago.
The mother has since been banned from leaving Egypt.
After being interrogated about the whereabouts of his father, the student
was released from prison. But earlier this month he was re-arrested in
connection with the case of Schalit and has been held in a security
The Egyptians believe that Ahmed Atta is linked in some way to the
kidnappers of Schalit or that he knows where the soldier is being held, the
sources told The Jerusalem Post.
The sources claimed that the student was not linked to the case of Schalit
and said it was rather "strange" that the Egyptian security forces were
making an effort to find out where the soldier was being held.
"This is not the first time that the Egyptians arrest Palestinians and
question them about Schalit," they said. "We believe that the Egyptians are
trying to help the Israelis find out where the soldier is being held."
The Egyptians have also questioned several Palestinians who fled from the
Gaza Strip to Egypt about the movements and hiding places of senior Hamas
officials, including Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, and the secret
locations where the movement is said to be storing weapons.
Palestinians who were wounded during Operation Cast Lead earlier this year
and who were transferred to Egypt for medical treatment also reported that
they were interrogated by intelligence officers about Schalit and Hamas's
military capabilities. But this is the first time that the Egyptians have
arrested a suspect in connection with the case of Schalit.