An Israeli-Russian academic who went missing in Iraq a few months ago is alive and being held there by Shiite group Kataib Hezbollah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Wednesday.
A statement from Netanyhahu's office named the woman as Elizabeth Tsurkov. It said she had gone to Iraq for research purposes on behalf of Princeton University in the United States. There were no immediate details on her condition.
Tsurkov entered Iraq on her Russian passport, the statement said.
"Elizabeth Tsurkov is still alive and we see Iraq as responsible for her fate and well being," the statement said, adding that the situation is being handled by the relevant bodies in Israel. There was no immediate comment by Russian or Iraqi officials.
Tsurkov's mother Irena said they lost contact two months ago. "From what I had known until today, she was in Turkey, working on her research for Princeton. I didn't even know she was in Iraq," she told N12 News.
Israeli citizens are forbidden from traveling to Iraq - an enemy state. Kataib Hezbollah is one of the most powerful Iran-backed militia groups there.
According to her LinkedIn page, Tsurkov's research includes work on rights violation, politics and upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. She is followed by 80,000 Twitter users and appears to have last tweeted in March.