A distraught Polish-born woman donned a burka to travel to Egypt and retrieve her three-year-old daughter who had been snatched by her Egyptian father, British newspaper the Daily Mail reported on Monday.
Alex Abou-El-Ella from Berkshire in England, risked her safety to rescue her young daughter, Mona, two years after the girl was kidnapped and taken to Cairo by her Egyptian father.
She disguised herself in loose clothing and a burka, successfully returning Mona to the UK.
“Despite the fact police, the Serious Organized Crime Agency and Interpol were all put on red alert when Mona disappeared, no one had been able to retrieve Mona after she left on an EgyptAir flight with her father,” The Telegraph newspaper reported.
During the two years, Alex’s husband would periodically threaten to cut off contact altogether, she said. Police told her she could do nothing since the UK has no extradition treaty with Egypt.
Alex had enlisted the help of British author Donya al-Nahi, author of “Heroine of the Desert,” a Scottish born woman, dubbed “Jane Bond” in the British press for helping a string of women rescue their children.
Nahi has particularly masterminded countless “operations” to rescue children snatched by Arab fathers, according to The Telegraph.
Dressed in black robes, with a veil over her face, Alex waited for her daughter to emerge from the apartment she was living in with her father before snatching her off the street and carrying her to a getaway car.
At first, three-year old Mona did not recognize her mother, calling out in Arabic to a woman that had cared for her.
‘I felt shocked and upset to hear those words coming out of her mouth about another woman,’ she Alex said in an interview with UK-based The Sunday People. ‘But after half an hour she looked up at me and said, “Are you my mum?”‘
“She finally recognized me and it was a beautiful moment for me, especially after not having her for the past two years,” she said.
Alex praised Nahi, thanking her for her help to retrieve her daughter after two long years.
Nahi was quoted as saying: “You only have one mother and no-one has the right to take you away from your mum. But Alex was the real hero here. She took the girl.”