Iraqi militia who kidnapped Israeli-Russian researcher Elizabeth Tsurkov tried to transfer her to Iran, a new report said on Sunday.
While it is confirmed that Tsurkov was kidnapped in Iraq back in March, the exact circumstances of her disappearance so far remain vague. In particular, it is not clear how the Iran-backed militia group responsible for her kidnapping knew that Truskov was in Baghdad.
New details revealed by Arab intelligence sources, however, provide a better understanding of what happened. According to them, it was Tsurkov herself who initiated the meeting with her future captors, after having approached a man named Ahmed Alewani to open a channel of communication with his son, David Muhammad Alewani, a senior Hezbollah operative in Iraq.
It was during the second meeting with the academic that they discovered that she is Israeli and decided to kidnap her. According to the sources, there was at least one attempt to move Tsurkov over land to Iran. It is not known whether this attempt was successful.
Tsurkov is a well-known academic in the Middle East who holds Israeli and Russian passports. She is a research fellow at the Institute for Foreign Policy Research in Philadelphia, was working toward her PhD at Princeton University. She had decided to travel to Iraq to conduct her doctoral research.