Four members of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas held in Egypt since August 2015 arrived home in the Gaza Strip Thursday where they were welcomed by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
The four arrived at the Rafah Border Crossing between Egypt and Gaza where they were greeted by dozens of well wishers before being driven to Haniyeh’s office.
They had disappeared in August 2015 under mysterious circumstances as they traveled through the Sinai region on a bus from Hamas-ruled Gaza to Cairo en route to Turkey.
Other passengers said that the vehicle was stopped by unidentified gunmen who seized the Hamas men.
At the time, Islamic State group jihadists were active in the lawless north Sinai region.
IS had threatened Hamas after it arrested jihadist militants suspected of targeting its armed wing with a series of bombings.
Haniyeh did not say Thursday who had been holding the four Gazans but expressed his “deep gratitude to the Egyptian authorities for this decision.”
Relations between Hamas and Egypt have deteriorated since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, had been sympathetic to Hamas. His overthrow unleashed a deadly crackdown on Islamist protesters, and an insurgency based in Sinai.