The armed men demanded that the Palestinian Authority provide them with jobs.
Gunmen say they want jobs (Photo: AP)
Eyewitnesses reported the gunmen also blocked Gaza’s coastal road for some time and prevented Palestinian security forces from passing through. In recent months, members of the Fatah’s military wing began arranging jobs for themselves as a reward for their activity during the intifada.
Meanwhile, masked gunmen reportedly kidnapped an Italian journalist in Dir al-Balah. The abductors are believed to be members of a group associated with the al-Aqsa Brigades and likely also acted in a bid to secure jobs.
Eyewitnesses reported the gunmen stopped the journalist’s vehicle and forced him to move to their car, before driving off in the direction of a nearby refugee camp. However, Palestinian Deputy Minister Nabil Shaath later announced the journalist was released by his captors after about four hours.
The journalist himself called his newspaper and said he was kidnapped by the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in a protest move aimed at drawing media attention to the corruption of Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef.
An al-Aqsa Brigades' member told Ynet recently: “The gunmen do not ask for a prize in exchange for their activity on behalf of the Palestinian people. We sacrificed ourselves for the homeland and demand to receive what we deserve.”
According to an al-Aqsa Brigades’ source, “a workplace and a dignified life is the minimum the Palestinian Authority can provide us with in exchange for all the sacrifices, the brothers who lost their lives, the ones who were wounded, and the ones imprisoned in Israeli jails.”
An official Palestinian source told Ynet the ongoing chaos is spoiling the Palestinian joy over the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
“People are anxiously awaiting and counting the seconds to the IDF withdrawal in order to celebrate, but the incidents and internal anarchy do not leave much room for celebration,” he said.
Nir Magal contributed to the report