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Pennsylvania mother reunited with son after daring rescue in Egypt

Fayetteville youth had allegedly been kidnapped by his father while on vacation in 2011

April 09, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • After nearly two years of trying to find her missing son who was allegedly kidnapped by his father while on a vacation in Eqypt, Kalliopi "Kalli" Atteya executed a daring rescue of her son, Khalil Mohamed "Niko" Atteya, at the school in Egypt where his father was taking him.
Submitted photo

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love.

After nearly two years of trying to find her missing son who was allegedly kidnapped by his father while on a vacation in Eqypt, Kalliopi “Kalli” Atteya took matters into her own hands.

The Fayetteville, Pa., woman executed a daring rescue of her son, Khalil Mohamed “Niko” Atteya, at the school in Egypt where his father was taking him, according to Kalliopi Atteya’s sister Olga Panagos-Kriska.

For several months, she disguised herself in a hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women in Egypt, Panagos-Kriska said.

She watched her ex-husband, Mohamed Atteya, take Niko to school and to the market before she made her move on March 14, Panagos-Kriska said.

Niko was the fourth child who got off the school bus at his school when Kalli made her move, Panagos-Kriska said.

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With teachers around, she said it was very dangerous for her sister to take such a risk, but it was something she had to do.

“She was so brave,” Panagos-Kriska said. “She took a big risk doing that, but she knew that was her chance.”

Kalli went up to Niko and said, ‘’It’s mommy, come with me,” and they left in a motorized type of golf cart.

From there Kalli and Niko went to Cairo and to the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

“They are so happy,” said Panagos-Kriska.

“Niko is ecstatic (about being reunited with his mother), but at the same time he’s scared,” she said.

She said Niko allegedly suffered physical and emotional abuse while away from his family.

The family is not disclosing Kalli or Niko’s whereabouts to protect their safety, according to Panagos-Kriska.

His aunt said Niko has missed his family, his pets and most of all America and everything that goes with it.

That includes some of the simple pleasures like hot dogs, root beer and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Neither Niko nor his mother ever gave up hope during their time apart, Panagos-Kriska said.

During his time in Egypt, Panagos-Kriska said Niko’s father tried to convince Niko that he’d never see his mother again but Niko never gave up hope.

“He knew that his mother would come for him,” she said.

“She wouldn’t give up. Kalli is a strong woman,” she said. “When she said she would never give up on her son, I knew she would never give up on her son.”

“She had lost everything. She had nothing left to lose but everything to gain — her son,” Panagos-Kriska said.

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