Photograph may hold key to location of four kidnapped Gazans in Sinai

A photograph supposedly showing two out of four missing Gazans has surfaced from an Egyptian security facility in Cairo, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

The four members of the Hamas naval commando unit were reportedly kidnapped by gunmen outside of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip in August 2015.

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The incident recently resurfaced after a photograph was leaked that appears to show Abdeldaim Abu Lebdah and his friend Yasser Zanoun in a Cairo security facility.

Abu Lebdah was on course to start his postgraduate engineering studies in Turkey when the gunman stopped the bus that he and three others boarded after leaving the Rafah crossing.

Abdeldaim’s mother, Umm Abdeldaim Abu Lebdah, told Al Jazeera “I see the world through my son’s eyes; his abduction has turned my life into a living hell.”

“It is really mysterious that the bus was ambushed while it was escorted by Egyptian soldiers, and in an area that fully lies under Egyptian sovereignty,” Mohammed Abu Libdah, Abdeldaim’s uncle, said to Al Jazeera.

The crisis increased tensions between Hamas, who controls the Gaza Strip, and Egypt. Egyptian authorities have denied involvement in the incident and have blamed armed groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas in recent months sent a delegation to Cairo regarding the four men but received no information about their location.

Hamas official Yahia Mousa said “the Egyptian attitude suggests that Hamas must pay a price in return for any information regarding the men.”

An anonymous security official claimed the kidnapping to be the work of the Province of Sinai who is affiliated with ISIS in order to release 50 Egyptian Islamists held in Gazan prisons.

The families of the four have held multiple protests in an effort to raise awareness and force the Palestinian Authority to step in.

In December, PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the former Justice Minister, Saleem al-Saqqa, to step down after he asked for the Egyptians to open an investigation regarding the four men.

Last June, an Egyptian court overturned a previous ruling classing Hamas as a terrorist group. This raised questions regarding the warming relations between Egypt and Hamas.

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