Israel Cabinet to Hear Report on Egyptian Defector Now Back in Cairo

Acting Defense Minister Pinhas Sapir told the Cabinet today that he would submit, at the next meeting, information concerning the reported return to Cairo of Abbas Hilmi, the Egyptian Air Force pilot who defected with his Czech built training plane to Israel last January.

It was reported earlier that, according to Israeli sources, Hilmi had been kidnapped from Argentina by Egyptian agents. The circumstances under which Hilmi was brought back to Cairo are still shrouded in mystery. In Cairo, the newspaper “Al Ahram” reported yesterday that Hilmi had returned to Egypt after going to the Egyptian Embassy in Argentina last week and asking for repatriation. “It is illogical,” Israeli sources stated, “that he returned of his own free will as the Egyptian radio asserts, because under the circumstances his future is not very bright.”

According to Israeli sources, Hilmi went to Argentina about 10 days ago, after he had asked for permission to leave Israel and go to South America Israel, these same sources say, paid the Egyptian officer’s airline fare. Some cabinet ministers have asked for an investigation to ascertain whether there was any negligence in the handling of the affair. The Liberal Party faction in the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, has requested that the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee take up the matter immediately.

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