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Leaked photos and terrorism gaffes: The Egypt vs Palestine controversy

Two Palestinian prisoners surface in an Egyptian jail after more than a year, as foreign minister's comments cause fury
Photo shows two Palestinian men who went missing for more than a year before being snapped in an Egyptian jail (Al Jazeera)

This week witnessed tensions rise between Egypt and Gaza, with two controversies breaking out and sparking a social media storm with users lashing out at the Egyptian government for its ties with Israel. 

On Sunday, Egypt’s foreign minister appeared to tell a group of high school students that the killing of Palestinian children was not terrorism. 

Sameh Shoukry responded to a question on whether the Israeli killing of Palestinian children was a form of terrorism by saying that different countries use the word terrorism differently - which Egyptian's interpreted as Shoukry's refusal to label the killings as "terrorism". 

Just after his comments were made public, Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip, carrying out over 50 air strikes in less than 24 hours. The incident, which came in response to rocket fire from Gaza, was the biggest escalation since the 50-day war in 2014. 

Then, two days later, fresh controversy struck when Al Jazeera Arabic appeared to publish images showing several half-naked detainees in an Egyptian National Security building.

(Photo shows detainees in Egypt / Al Jazeera)

Palestinian families identified two of the men as Abdel-Dayem Abu-Labdah and Yasser Zaytoon who went missing on 19 August 2015 when entering Egypt via the Rafah border alongside another two Palestinians. Families tried in desperation to get more information but the authorities refused to cooperate and merely said the men had been kidnapped. 

Once the families found out Labdah and Zaytoon had actually been in an Egyptain prison for more then a year, they were outraged.

Egyptian and Palestinian Twitter users chipped in with their support, and the Arabic hashtag #Leaked_images was popular Egypt. 

Translation: The #Leaked_Images of Palestinians kidnapped a year ago by Egyptian authorities are painful, but what is more painful is that we did not expect anything better from the culture of oppression and abuse

Translation: Forgive us Palestine, our country is ruled by traitorous Zionists

Translation: Tonight looks like another betrayal from Egypt

Translation: Don’t be too surprised, the one who kills his fellow countryman has no scruples in kidnapping his neighbours and violating them in this way

An official from Hamas, Salah al-Bardawil, who spoke live from the home of one of the missing men in Gaza said: "From the moment they were kidnapped, all evidence pointed to the fact there is no way the Egyptian military had nothing to do with their abduction." 

Bardawil also said to Al Jazeera that if they are accused of committing any crime they should stand trial.