Gilad Shalit's Father to Abu Sisi Family: Urge Hamas to Release Gilad

Wife of Palestinian engineer tells Noam Shalit that her husband has no connection to Hamas, but she will still work toward the release of Gilad Shalit.

Noam Shalit, the father of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit, called on the family of detained Palestinian engineer Dirar Abu Sisi on Thursday to pressure Hamas to reach a deal that would bring about the release of his son.

In a phone conversation with Abu Sisi's wife Veronica, Shalit urged her to exert pressure on Hamas to release his son. She told him in response that Abu Sisi has no connection to Hamas, but that her family will still try to work toward Shalit's release.

The southern district prosecution announced Thursday that an indictment will be served against Abu Sisi within five days, after his remand was extended up to that time.

Abu Sisi has been held in Israeli custody for close to 40 days after he was abducted in Ukraine.

Noam Shalit - Appelbaum - Feb 19, 2011
Tomer Appelbaum

Speaking during the remand-extension hearing at the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court earlier Thursday, Abu Sisi denied he had any information concerning the abducted IDF soldier, saying: "I don't know anything about Gilad Shalit. Ask me – I don't know anything. I'm an engineer."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday in an interview aired on YouTube that Abu Sisi is a Hamas member who "gave important information."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio on Thursday morning that the Palestinian engineer has inside information on Hamas, not only on the matter of Gilad Shalit, so for this reason his detention is justified.

Meanwhile, an article published in the Paris-based journal Intelligence Online on Thursday suggested that the seven Estonians abducted in Lebanon last week may have been taken by extremist Palestinian groups as a bargaining chip for the release of Abu Sisi.

The article in Intelligence Online says that the abductors made a mistake when they abducted the Estonians, believing they were Ukrainian.

Lebanese intelligence officials who are investigating the abduction of the seven Estonians believe they were smuggled to Syria and are currently held there.