Egyptian sources said Monday night that Andrei Pashnichikov, the Israeli who has been imprisoned in Egypt since Friday, had snuck into Egypt with the intention of reaching Gaza – so he could join Hamas to fight against IDF soldiers.
The Israeli media portrayed Pashnichikov on Monday night as a “peace activist” who had strong contacts with PA Arabs in Gaza, and with Egyptians. According to Israeli sources, Pashnichikov had applied for a visa to Egypt and was granted one, but when he tried to cross into Sinai at the Taba crossing south of Eilat, he was refused entry by Egyptian border officials. He then apparently ditched his passport altogether and snuck into Sinai, and was returned to Israel by Egyptian soldiers.
He then tried to enter Sinai a third time, this time successfully. The sources said that Pashnichikov had planned to rendezvous with friends in Cairo, but was arrested while he was still in northern Sinai.
In interviews with Israeli media Monday night, Pashnichikov's mother said that her son was a “peace activist,” who had many contacts in the PA and had worked on numerous projects to encourage “co-existence.” However, sources told Arutz Sheva that Pashnichikov was identified with radical leftist and anarchist groups, and that he was headed to Gaza in order to assist Arab terrorists there to fight Israel.
The Foreign Ministry said Monday night that they were in contact with Egyptian officials and were trying to sort out the matter, in the hope that they could bring Pashnichikov back to Israel.