Gazan in Israeli custody was abducted in Egypt, Palestinians say

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank released a report on Tuesday quoting a Palestinian held by Israel as saying he had been snatched while visiting Egypt's Sinai region last month.

The report by the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners could embarrass Israel and the Egyptian government, which is struggling to impose order in the lawless Sinai desert.

The report said that Wael Abu Rida, who comes from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, told his lawyer while in Israeli custody that he had been in Egypt seeking medical treatment for his son in June when he received a call summoning him to Rafah, a town straddling the Egypt-Gaza border about seven kilometres from Israeli territory.

The former Palestinian policeman departed for the rendezvous and disappeared, ending up in Israel, according to the report.

Israel indicted Abu Rida on 19 July for attacks on Israeli citizens on behalf of Islamic Jihad and other Gaza-based armed factions.

The Palestinian report quotes Abu Rida, 35, as saying a driver on the Sinai side of Rafah "set him up," citing as its source Karim Ajwa, a Palestinian lawyer it said visited him in his Israeli jail.

Ajwa could not immediately be reached for comment. Israel's Prisons Authority would not confirm that Abu Rida had met the lawyer while in Israeli custody.

Abu Rida described going to the driver's house in Sinai, where other men were present, and drinking a glass of juice that had apparently been laced with sedative, the report said.

He then lost consciousness and woke up in an Israeli interrogation facility.

"He was kidnapped from Sinai," said the report, without naming the Sinai residents it alleged were involved.

Egyptian officials had no immediate comment.

Mohammed Jabarin, an Israeli lawyer representing Abu Rida, declined to discuss the circumstances that led to his client's incarceration, citing a court-issued gag order.

Jabarin has denied the charges against Abu Rida, saying they were based on false confessions to his interrogators.