Palestinian abducted in Ukraine 'has Shalit info': report

30th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Palestinian engineer was abducted in Ukraine on an Israeli request because he might know where missing soldier Gilad Shalit is, Germany's Spiegel magazine reported Wednesday.

Western intelligence sources suspect that Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, was seized from a train in Ukraine on the night of February 18-19 before being taken to Israel where he is in prison, Spiegel said in its online edition.

This echoes claims by others including Sisi's Ukrainian wife, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Hamas. Ukraine's foreign ministry last week summoned the Israeli ambassador over the alleged incident.

Spiegel cited another source as saying that Israel believes that Sisi, also known as Seesi, might have information on the whereabouts of Shalit, who was snatched by Gaza militants in 2006.

Shalit remains captive somewhere in Gaza, and Hamas has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for freeing him.

"If Mossad went to such lengths and has questioned him for six weeks then he must know something that Israel definitely wants to get out of him," the magazine quoted another unnamed "insider" as saying.

If he had just been an "irritant," he would have been killed, the insider said.

Top Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh was assassinated in Dubai in January 2010 in an operation widely blamed on Israeli spy agency Mossad.

Two Ukrainian train attendants initially said that two men boarded the train and then alighted with Sisi at 1:00 am, but they have since retracted their statements and now say they saw nothing, Spiegel said.

Israel has said it is holding the man "for questioning", but a court has kept a ban on publishing information on the circumstances and reasons of his arrest until late April, Israeli media reported.

Veronika Abu Sisi has been told by Israeli lawyers that her husband has lost 11 kilos (24 pounds) since being captured and is suffering from heart problems, high blood pressure and a kidney infection, Spiegel said.

The couple had wanted to move to Ukraine with their six children. Sisi worked as technical director of the only power plant in the Gaza Strip.

© 2011 AFP

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