MP questions Egyptian commandoes’ role in rescuing desert hostages

MP questions Egyptian commandoes’ role in rescuing desert hostages

CAIRO: MP Hamdy Hassan filed a memo at the People”s Assembly (PA) to the minister of defense, questioning the Egyptian security forces” role in the rescue of the19 hostages that were abducted from Egypt two weeks ago. 


Hassan, a Muslim Brotherhood MP, challenges reports that a rescue operation had been carried out by security forces and claims that the kidnappers released the hostages voluntarily. 


Official sources were quoted by state-run media as saying that the hostages, who were snatched by armed bandits in a remote location on the border with Sudan, were freed unharmed after the 10-day ordeal in a pre-dawn raid by Egyptian special forces last week.


Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi was quoted by MENA news agency as saying that “half of the kidnappers were eliminated” in the raid.


The European tourists and their Egyptian drivers and tour guides told a different story. Whether interviewed in Cairo, Berlin or Rome, the ex-hostages said their “bored teenage” kidnapers released them voluntarily. The freed hostages ran into the Egyptian special forces long after they departed from their captors, they said.


Hassan said that “announcing false information” is nothing new to the government who has a long history of doing so.


“It happened during the 1967 war when the Egyptian media was forced to report false information to the public about the troops” victory while in fact Egypt was being defeated,” Hassan told Masrawy news portal.


However, Mahmoud Amer, another Brotherhood MP, told Daily News Egypt that he was unaware of Hassan”s request, adding that the PA is on annual recess which is why Hassan was only able to file a memo, not an investigation request that would be debated in the assembly.


Amer, who is also a member of the PA’s committee of defense and national security, explained that the rescue operation was carried out discreetly and did not receive excessive media attention for the hostages” safety, and that left the public with a lot of questions surrounding the issue. 


However, Amer does not see the connection between the rescue operation and the Ministry of Defense, explaining that the issue comes under the Ministry of Interior”s jurisdiction.