Princeton University student Elizabeth Surkov was kidnapped in Iraq

Israeli-Russian dual citizen Elizabeth Zurkov, a graduate student at Princeton University, has been captured by Shiite militias, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced Wednesday. Surkov was conducting doctoral research in Baghdad when he disappeared in March.

“Elizabeth Surkov is still alive,” Prime Minister’s Office said“We hold Iraq responsible for its security and well-being.”

Although close confidants — including Surkov’s family and his colleagues — learned of the researcher’s abduction in late March, Israel’s statement was one of the first public acknowledgments of his capture. The DC-based New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy, where Tsurkov is a fellow, said in a statement that Tsurkov’s family asked that the news not be publicized in hopes of speedy and quiet negotiations.

“Our sister is an academic, a world-renowned expert on the Middle East in general and Syria and Iraq in particular,” her family said in a statement. “… she was kidnapped in the middle of Baghdad and the Iraqi government is directly responsible for her safety. We demand his immediate release from this illegal detention.

Israel’s statement came after foreign media began reporting on Surkov’s abduction, according to Israeli officials cited in local media reports.

Russian and Israeli authorities are cooperating in efforts to secure the researcher’s release, according to Israeli media reports.

In its statement, Israel identified Surkov’s captives as Shiite militias affiliated with Hezbollah. The militants are closely aligned with Iran.

“There are parts of the Middle East [Tsurkov’s] The very identity puts her at great risk,” wrote New Lines magazine, published by the company. Report On Wednesday. “But Liz does a particular style of granular, hyperlocal research that requires fieldwork, and she’s not afraid of anything. She stayed in Iraq.

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Kisha, who previously worked for Surkov at an Israeli NGO, is typical of the academic on Twitter As an advocate “for the human rights and well-being of Palestinians in Gaza”.

Surkov entered Iraq with his Russian passport to conduct research for his doctoral studies at Princeton, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said. (She could not have entered the country with her Israeli passport). When asked about Princeton’s role and knowledge of Surko’s journey, a university spokeswoman said it could not share information related to student records, citing school policy.

“Elizabeth is a valued member of the Princeton University community,” said Michael Hotchkiss, assistant vice president for communications at Princeton. “We are deeply concerned for her safety and well-being and are anxious for her to be reunited with her family and resume her studies.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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