Friday evening I was in Washington D.C. and received an urgent message from Egypt. The major player in helping us get medical equipment into Egypt duirng the early days of the recent 22 day war in Gaza was Philip Rizk. Friday evening at 11 p.m. Egyptian time Philip was abducted by Egyptian secret police. He is still missing.
Philip was our primary contact when we got medical equipment and other relief items into Gaza. I have rarely met a young man as mature as Philip for his age. He is a leader by any standard. His mother is German and his father, Egyptian -- Philip carries both passports. After graduating from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, he worked two years in Gaza as a volunteer with a British aid group.
Yesterday, we got a message from Philip's sister:
We have decided as a family to wait for 24 hours and if nothing has happened by tomorrow night then we will take more drastic action. The German embassy here has been very involved as has the American University where Philip is doing his M.A.. I will keep you updated. We are creating a facebook site for Phil.
Philip's father has said initially that they will wait 24 hours for his return. If they hear nothing, we will then start a media campaign to bring about his release. The 24 hours have now transpired and Philip is still missing.
Reuters U.K. carried a news story that also quoted Philip's sister:
She said that Rizk, who lived in Gaza for two years, had been helping get medicine into the coastal enclave that was recently the target of a 22-day Israeli offensive that left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead. The Egyptian government contributes to the blockade of Gaza by refusing to open the Rafah crossing point without Israeli approval.
This message is to request your prayers for Philip's release without harm. Below is the latest news (from Egypt) from Philip's family, found on the Facebook page dedicated to his safe and prompt release:
Monday, Feb. 9th, 7:15 p.m.
This afternoon it was discovered that the secret police were at Jeannette Rizk's residence in the past 24 hours. By process of elimination, we have deduced it was most likely while the family home was being searched in the early morning hours. Hard drives, cameras, an iPod, as well as several boxes of paper, including both intellectual and material property are missing from the apartment. No money was taken.
The intruders used Philip's key to get into the apartment, and left it behind on a desk. At this point it is unclear what they were looking for. Although no "incriminating" evidence of any sort could possibly be found