Jailed Palestinian engineer denies knowledge of Shalit


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Palestinian engineer secretly captured in Ukraine and jailed in Israel denies having any knowledge of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Didar Abu Sisi, a Gaza electric power plant engineer, has been held in an Israeli prison for more than a month after being arrested in Ukraine by Israeli agents. Sisi, 42, reportedly was visiting Ukraine with his Ukraine-born wife and their six children in order to apply for Ukrainian citizenship.

During a hearing Thursday in Petach Tikvah District Court to extend his remand, Abu Sisi denied that he had any knowledge about Shalit, who has been held by Hamas in Gaza for five years after being captured in a cross-border raid.

Abu Sisi has internal information on Hamas, though he is not directly linked to Shalit’s kidnapping, Defense Minister Ehud Barak asserted Thursday on Israel Radio. Abu Sisi told reporters at the court that he had not been interrogated about Shalit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday during a live question-and-answer session on YouTube that Abu Sisi provided "important information," but did not specify what it was.

Abu Sisi likely will be charged with membership in a terrorist organization. Most areas of the case are under a gag order.

Hamas has denied any connection to Abu Sisi.

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