Intel Sources Say Abu Sisi Had Vital Info On Gilad Shalit
On a crisp February morning, Israel's Mossad nabbed an Dirar Abu Sisi from his Ukrainian train-carriage, Der Spiegel reports.
While Israel Radio reported Abu Sisi, an Arab engineer fro Gaza, had mysteriously appeared in an Israeli jail after going missing in Ukraine, they did not report the apparent motive for his abduction. But in western Intelligence circles, suspicion is mounting the man is a Hamas insider with vital information on the status of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
Abu Sisi, who was staying with in-laws in the eastern town of Kharkiv while making plans to re-settle his Ukranian wife and children from the Gaza strip, boarded a train on February 18 headed for Kiev. He intended to meet his brother, who had lived in Amsterdam for years and flew in for the reuinion. But Abu Sisi never arrived.
The exact details are vague, but according to the train's conductor and porter, two men in civilian clothing stepped into Abu Sisi's carriage on the night of February 19. At around 1 AM, they told security personnel who interviewed them after the incident, the strangers escorted him off the train. However, the men later retracted these statements saying they saw "nothing."
Some Intelligence insiders assert the witnesses' retraction has a simple explanations: that Ukranian agents kidnapped Abu Sisi nad turned him over to Israel's Mossad who requested the extreme rendition. One informant told Der Spiegel on the condition of anonymity, "If Mossad goes to such an expense, and interrogates the man for six weeks, then he must know something Israel absolutely wants to hear."
Another uncorroborated source asserted officials in Jerusalem believe that Abu Sisi had vital information relating to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped four and a half years ago by Hamas. Since Shalit, now 24, was kidnapped, Israel and Hamas have discussed a prisoner exchange, but Hamas wants 1,000 terror-prisoners released in exchange for him. Israeli leaders fear this would lead to the muder of more Israelis and hold out hope of liberating Shalit with a commando opration.
Abu Sisi's wife Veronika immediately feared a political assassination had taken place when she learned her husband had not reached his brother in Kiev, which seemingly implies she herself knew her husband was a target. A day later she contacted UN officials and representatives from Israeli human rights groups. She asked them to find out her husband's fate. But eight days after his appearance, on February 27, Abu Sisi contacted his wife by telephone and informed her he was in prison in Ashkelon.
On March 20 Israel official admitted it had Abu Sisi in custody. Prior to that a gag-order had forbidden Israel's media and local correspondents from reporting on the affair. Beyond the flat admission of Abu Sisi's presence in it jail, Israel has released no further information on Abu Sisi, while the Ukranian government has denied involvement in his abduction.
Last week two Israeli lawyers met with Abu Sisi, who is being held in 'administrative detention', a legal holdover from British Colonial Law that was used during the British Mandate Era and is often invoked for security prisoners of both sides. No date for his release has been given.