After Israel announced its kidnapping in Baghdad, Aby Israeli-Russian researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov In a previous clip, she talks about her visit to Sadr City and the personality of the leader of the Sadrist movement in Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr.
In a previous interview with a reporter from one of the streets of Baghdad, wearing a headscarf, she said, “Friday prayer in Sadr City is a historical event because of its roots that extend back to the nineties,” noting that “this city is known internationally as a place that generates revolutions and uprisings against any oppressor.”
She also talked about Muqtada al-Sadr, and said, “Muqtada al-Sadr is a national figure who rejects the interference of Western and Arab countries,” adding, “This, in my opinion, should be the position of every Iraqi political leader who should take care of their country.”
She added, “I wish all politicians in Iraq were like him, caring about the interests of Iraq and its people.”
In response to a question by the reporter: “Are you a Muslim?” Elizabeth Tsurkov said, “I am not a Muslim,” noting that she attended Friday prayers at the Sadr City Mosque.
The Iraqi government had opened an investigation related to the kidnapping of an Israeli-Russian researcher in the country, according to government spokesman Basem Al-Awadi, after Israel accused an armed Iraqi faction loyal to Iran of being responsible for her disappearance.
Accusation of Hezbollah Brigades.. and implicit denial
On Wednesday, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office held, in a statement, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades responsible for this case, saying that “Elizabeth Tsurkov, the Israeli-Russian citizen who disappeared a few months ago in Iraq, is being held by the Shiite Hezbollah Brigades militia.”
And the Israeli Prime Minister’s office added in its statement, on Wednesday, that “Elizabeth Tsurkov is alive, and we hold Iraq responsible for her safety.”
On the other hand, the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades vaguely addressed this accusation, implicitly denying its responsibility for the kidnapping.
A statement by its spokesman Abu Ali al-Askari on Thursday night, published via the Telegram application, stated that “the recognition by the Prime Minister of the Zionist entity of the presence of an Israeli security element in Iraq is a very dangerous indicator, which must be considered and dealt with accurately and firmly.”
It is noteworthy that Tsurkov arrived in Baghdad “in early January 2022” with a Russian passport, according to what a Western diplomat in Iraq said, on condition of anonymity.
In Baghdad, Tsurkov focused her research on pro-Iranian factions and the Sadrist movement led by Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr, according to several journalists who interviewed her.
On her personal website, Tsurkov says she speaks English, Hebrew, Russian and Arabic. Her website adds that she is a fellow at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, and a research fellow at the Forum for Regional Thinking, an Israeli-Palestinian think tank based in Jerusalem.
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