Israel 'Asked Egypt to Help Return Abductees'

Maan news says Egyptian president is trying to facilitate negotiations between Israel and kidnappers.

Gil Ronen,

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has given a green light to Egyptian negotiations teams to try and facilitate negotiations between Israel and the abductors of three yeshiva boys, according to a report in Bethlehem-based Maan news, cited by Maariv/NRG.

Maan quotes Egyptian sources who said that Israel is the one that asked Egypt to intervene and that following this request, Egyptian security elements have been in touch with unnamed Palestinian Arabs.

Maariv/NRG adds, however, that the government's Coordinator of Activities in the Territories, Major General Poli Mordechai, denied yesterday an earlier report that Egypt is trying to help Israel secure the abductees' release.

On Sunday, Maan reported that Egypt is indeed trying to assist Israel in freeing the three abductees. A senior Egyptian source told the news agency that Egypt is indirectly talking to elements in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, via other Palestinian Arabs. 

The government of President al-Sisi on Monday called on Israel to show "maximum self-restraint" in its crackdown on the Hamas terrorist group, as the search continues for the three students who were kidnapped last Thursday.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Badr Abdellaty said Israel must show "maximum self-restraint," in response to what he called reports of "Israel's intention to expand its security operations in the West Bank... in response to the kidnapping of three Israeli citizens."

Abdellaty pressed Israel to avoid "escalating the situation...between the Palestinian and Israeli sides...and prevent it from deteriorating in a way that would make it difficult to control later," reports AFP.

The Egyptian statement did not include a condemnation of the abduction by Hamas terrorists of three students - two 16-year-olds and a 19-year-old.