CAIRO: A Palestinian woman stopped from boarding a plane on Monday says she is being prevented from leaving Egypt.
Manal Timraz, a Norwegian national and her two teenage sons Ahmed, 15, and Omar, 13, were stopped at Cairo Airport by security bodies on Monday morning shortly after passing through passport control.
Timraz, who is a UK resident, was told that because she was a “national security case she would not be allowed to travel.
While she was given clearance to leave the airport 10 minutes after her flight took off by a member of security bodies, Timraz says that she subsequently discovered that she had been banned from leaving Egypt.
“I went to the Air France desk to ask about tickets and was told by a representative that they would not agree to have me on board unless I got written permission from security bodies that I would be allowed to travel, Timraz told Daily News Egypt.
“When I asked for this permission from security officers they refused to provide it, and one officer informed me that I would not be allowed to leave Egypt from any port.
While Timraz has not been contacted by Egyptian security bodies since Monday, Norwegian Ambassador to Cairo Thomas Hauff confirmed to Daily News Egypt that the embassy is “in continuous contact with the authorities about Timraz’s situation.
“We’ve been in continuous contact with state security and the foreign affairs ministry for the past three days about the case, trying to get an explanation for what’s happening. We have not had one so far, Hauff said.
“We’re doing all we can, and I sincerely hope the problem will be resolved.
Hauff said that he could not confirm that state security bodies have explicitly stated that Timraz will be prevented from leaving Cairo if she tries to do so.
The Norwegian Embassy has, however, asked Timraz whether she would consider sending her children back to the UK without her.
Hauff emphasized however that any such decision is in the hands of the Egyptian authorities, but that the embassy is prepared to help in the event of it happening.
Timraz, sounding tired and distressed, told Daily News Egypt that she “doesn’t feel safe and is “extremely worried about the safety of her two boys.
She says that she is considering the option of sending them to the UK without her but added that, “my kids aren’t babies. They know what’s going on and if they left they’d be extremely worried about me.
Timraz, who has been involved in fundraising for Gaza in the UK and in May was part of a humanitarian convoy which went across the Rafah border separating Egypt from Gaza, remains baffled about her treatment.
“It just doesn’t add up. If I’m a threat why am I being left in the country? Why has no one contacted me? I’m running out of energy and money. I’m only being kept going by the support of friends and British MPs who are campaigning for me to be allowed to leave.
In another strange twist to the story, KLM, the airline Timraz and her sons were meant to fly with on Monday, have recorded her as a “no show, despite the fact that the family checked in.
Timraz claimed that on Monday morning when she was stopped and security bodies ordered a flight delay, a KLM representative said “this is the last time we carry these nationalities, they cause problems in front of her. She assumed that he was referring to the fact that she is a Palestinian.
“When we contacted KLM to complain about this a representative told us that there was a note on their computer recording us as not having checked in. Security bodies took our boarding passes from us but they forgot to remove the baggage labels, which prove that we checked in our luggage, said Timraz.
Despite several attempts, Daily News Egypt was unable to reach anyone from KLM for comment by time of press.