Prosecutor general issues gag order in North Sinai kidnapping

Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat banned the media from reporting on the kidnapping of a police officer in North Sinai, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Monday.

Captain Ayman Mohamed Ibrahim Dessouky, who works for the ports security division of the police force, was reportedly kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on Sunday as he was traveling to Rafah.

The gag order includes television, local and foreign newspapers and magazines and online portals until investigations into the incident are complete, Barakat said in a statement. However, the order excludes statements issued by the general prosecutor’s office itself.

In light of the kidnapping, the Egyptian authorities have postponed reopening the Rafah border crossing to Gaza.

The Palestinian embassy has been notified of the delay and is in contact with the Egyptian authorities, the embassy said in a statement posted to its website.

Egypt had announced that the Rafah crossing would reopen for students from Tuesday to Thursday this week.

Since former President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, the crossing largely been closed, typically only opening intermittently for a few hours at a time for extreme emergencies.

The last time the crossing was open was during the last week of December. Students and some individuals needing medical care were permitted to enter Egypt. It had been closed since October, following an attack in Sinai that left 33 security personnel dead.


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