Search continues for missing Co Down cyclist in the Israeli desert
SEARCHES are continuing in the southern Israeli desert for a Co Down man who has been missing for seven weeks.
Oliver McAfee (29) from Dromore was last seen on November 21 as he cycled on the Israel National Trail near the desert city of Mitzpe Ramon.
But his wallet, keys and a tablet computer were found on the trail in late December. His family raised the alarm with Israeli police on Christmas Eve and a missing persons case was opened on December 27.
Police said there was no evidence of foul play, adding that "he could have managed to make his way to a road in the south and possibly got into a vehicle".
Inspector Mickey Rosenfeld said a "wide-scale" search was continuing in the Negev region.
"At the moment the area which we're focusing on is down south near Mitzpe Ramon," he told The Telegraph.
"Until any clear evidence comes up we're optimistic."
Mr McAfee has left his gardening job in Essex in April to cycle across Europe, in what friends described as a voyage of personal discovery.
They have launched a Facebook page in a bid to try and find him.
In a post, they said: "We know that he has not left Israel as his passport has not crossed a border, but some of his possessions, a tablet computer, his wallet and keys, were found near a trail in a park in southern Israel, and further possessions, his bike, other bags, shoes and so on, were found near an apparent camp site further away.
"The Israeli authorities are now working with Interpol and the UK Foreign Office to try and locate Ollie, and have started a media campaign in Israel to try and find him."