Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea Israel news photo: Flash 90

Egypt on Friday handed over to Israel the body of one of its citizens that found in the sea near Sheikh Zuwayed.

The body was apparently that of 43-year-old Samuel Zohar, and was discovered Wednesday about 10 kilometers from the Gaza coast, according to the description of a missing person who was allegedly on a boat traveling from Cyprus to Haifa but never arrived at his destination. The body was transferred to Israel at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

A medical source at a hospital in the Egyptian port city of El-Arish, in northern Sinai, said an autopsy revealed the victim, a male, had been shot five times, according to the Egyptian daily newspaper al-Masry al-Youm, quoting Egyptian security sources.

It was not clear whether he was killed in Israel or Gaza, “after which the man's body was carried towards Egyptian shores,” the medical source said.

“We were informed last week about the discovery near El-Arish of the body of an Israeli who disappeared at sea,” said Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. “It was handed back to us following contacts with the Egyptian authorities,” he said.

He did not say how the man had died.

However, according to a report in the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yediot Acharanot, the victim was a taxi driver from Hadera, who witnesses said had been seen aboard the vessel one day before it was due to dock in Haifa. When he did not arrive with the ship, his family members allegedly filed a missing persons report, and delivered DNA samples to police, along with consent for an autopsy.

Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld identified the victim as an Israeli fisherman whose boat had been retrieved along Israel's coast. "The Israeli in question was a fisherman whose boat had earlier been found empty on Israel's Mediterranean coast,” Rosenfeld told AFP