Alex Abou-El-Ella, who had not seen her three-year old daughter Mona for two years, received help from British author Donya Al-Nahi, who has been nicknamed “Jane Bond” for masterminding countless “operations” to rescue children snatched by Arab fathers.
The abduction by Mona’s father came without warning. Two years ago, Mr. Abou-El-Ella told his wife he was going to visit friends in Hounslow, a short distance from Heathrow airport, and took Mona with him. Instead, he went to the airport, bought tickets to Cairo on EgyptAir and boarded the plane without a passport for Mona.
Police, the Serious Organized Crime Agency and Interpol were all put on red alert when Mona disappeared, but no one had been able to retrieve Mona.
During the two years, Alex had intermittent phone contact with her daughter, with her husband periodically threatening to cut off it off altogether. She was told by police that there was nothing could be done since the UK has no extradition treaty with Egypt.
Despite warnings by the Foreign Office not to travel to Egypt, Alex decided to embark on a daring rescue attempt herself. Together with Al-Nahi, Alex flew to Egypt and found the apartment where Mona was living with relatives. The next day they spotted Mona walking near the apartment with an aunt.
The two hired a trusted driver. Alex, disguised herself by wearing a burka, with her face hidden by a black veil. The plan almost failed when …