Israel releases eight captured Egyptian sailors

Published October 14th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Eight Egyptian sailors from the Karine A weapons ship captured by Israel in January have been released from Israeli Prison.  


The Israeli Interior Ministry said the seamen have left the country, Haaretz reported.  


Mohammed Assad al-Haggag, 37, said he and the seven other sailors from the ship were subjected to mental and physical torture in Israeli custody and made confessions under duress that the ship was carrying weapons from Iran to the Palestinian Authority.  


Haggag told reporters at Cairo airport the ship initially carried rice and sesame from Sudan to Yemen, where he joined the rest of the crew.  


After the ship unloaded its cargo in Yemen and Jordan, it stopped in the middle of the Red Sea "due to technical problems," and boxes from a small boat were transferred to the ship, he said. Haggag said he never found out what was inside the boxes.  


"Ten months passed on me in jail ... where Israeli investigators tried to force me to confess that the ship was carrying a weapons shipment, and when I refused, I was severely tortured and tied to a chair for long periods," Haggag said.  


A Jordanian seaman who was on board the ship remains in Israeli custody. (

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