JERUSALEM (Jul. 21)
A 17-year-old Israeli tractor driver who was kidnaped last Monday night by Arab infiltrators from the Gaza Strip was returned late last night to the Israeli border by Egyptian officers.
The youth, Erwin Owitz, reported to officials here today that the Egyptians brought him to the demarcation line and told him: “You are free, you can cross now.” Israel sent an urgent appeal yesterday to the United Nations secretariat in New York and to the U.N. Emergency Force in the Gaza area to act to obtain the youth’s release.
The youth told the officials that he waited until daylight today before crossing the line, saying he feared that an accident might happen if he met an Israeli patrol in the dark. He said he had been kidnaped from his tractor at the village of Ami Oz, near the Gaza Strip border, where he had been spraying vines. He reported that two masked men carrying machineguns stopped him and forced him to go with them to Gaza.
The news of the release of the abducted Israeli youth was received in Israel with utmost interest. No details were reported on whether he was interrogated in Gaza by the Egyptian authorities there after he was brought there by his kidnapers.