Seven members of Egypt’s security forces kidnapped by suspected militants appeared in a video posted on the Internet Sunday, pleading with the government to secure their release by meeting their captors’ demands.
The six policemen and one border guard were abducted on Thursday as they traveled from posts in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to Cairo. They appear bound and blindfolded in the video and identify themselves to the camera.
“Please, President [Mohammed] Morsi, release us as quickly as possible because we can’t bear the torture,” one officer tells the camera. “Please release the political prisoners from Sinai,” the video continues, referring to militants captured by the Egyptian military, “especially Sheikh Hamada Abu Shita.”
Last summer Cairo arrested Abu Shita, a high-level Islamist terror leader convicted of killing troops in the Sinai Peninsula, as part of a crackdown against Islamist terror groups in the lawless region, in the wake of an attack near the Israeli border that left 16 Egyptian officers dead. Abu Shita — known as the Osama bin Laden of the Sinai — was sentenced to death in absentia earlier in 2012 by an Egyptian court for involvement in the Rafah border attack.
Speaking to the camera, Cpl. Ibrahim Sobhi Ibrahim pleaded with the Egyptian government to act on their behalf as the Israeli government did for Gilad Shalit, a soldier who was kidnapped inside Israel, held hostage by Hamas in Gaza for five years, and ultimately released in exchange for more than a thousand Palestinian security prisoners.
The men then plead at the end of the video: “Rescue us Mr. President. We can’t take it. Rescue us, people.”
It was not immediately clear who posted the video, which was uploaded to a YouTube account created Sunday.
An Egyptian security official identified the captives in the video as the missing personnel. He said a copy of the video was sent to security agencies. He said it was not immediately clear who sent the video. Another security official in Cairo said families and friends of the captives were called in to identify their relatives.