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Investigation claims two Israeli citizens 'kidnapped' overseas

Israeli sources tell Middle East Eye the reports are 'fake and old' and that no Israelis are missing abroad
Arab-Israelis gather outside the Gilboa prison in northern Israel on 18 September 2021 to express support for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails (AFP)

An investigative documentary by Al Jazeera on Friday aired audio and video recordings showing two purported Israeli "officers" held captive abroad by a group called "The Freedom Movement".

The investigation, part of the Ma Khafia Kan Azam (Arabic for "What is hidden is greater") programme, cited a new movement calling itself "Freedom" as saying it had kidnapped two Israeli officers while they were carrying out "a secret security mission" outside Israel.

The group did not reveal the time and place of detention, or the current whereabouts of the two men. 

The Israeli government has yet to comment on the claims, but Israeli security sources told Middle East Eye on Saturday that the recordings of the two men were "old and fake," and said that no Israeli citizens are missing at the moment.

The programme comes amid reports of an imminent prisoner exchange deal between Israel and the Palestinians. 

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According to the documentary, the kidnappers linked the fate of the two Israelis to the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

There are at least 4,850 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, according to the Prisoners' Affairs Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. There are some 43 women and 225 children among the detainees.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian movement Hamas, which has de facto rule over the Gaza Strip, has captured four Israelis since 2014, two of them soldiers.

In a video, the two alleged Israelis appealed to Israel to work for their release. 

One of the two alleged Israelis said in a video that he had had "secret missions" in the Elad Settlement Association, while the other was said to be a chemical expert.

The Freedom movement said the two men were kidnapped in two separate operations, without revealing the location of the kidnapping or detention.

The programme showed a photo of the passport and ID card of one of the alleged Israeli prisoners, and claimed he hails from the Ma'ale Adumim settlement in occupied Jerusalem.

Middle East Eye could not independently verify the authenticity of the recordings.

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