One day after the kidnapping of a senior PA intelligence officer, three Hamas members were snatched in the West Bank.
One person, Riad Abdel Karim al-Raz, head of the engineering department at al-Najah University, was freed Friday, but the fate of the two remaining victims remains unknown.
Friday morning, an independent Palestinian news agencies reported a group calling itself the "Omar Ben al-Khatib Warriors" claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.
The group said in a statement that the kidnappings were intended to send a message to all Hamas members trying to damage the Palestinian Authority and the national mission of the Palestinian people.
The group also promised to respond to any and all attempts to hurt the PA, its institutions or leaders.
The group is believed to be a small group of Fatah activists aligned with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian security apparatus.
Thursday, the Authority began responding to a series of Hamas provocations this week, including the killing of a PA police officer and the firing of a mortar rocket at a PA police station.
Two Hamas members were kidnapped, apparently by Palestinian policemen, followed by an additional three Friday morning.
At the same time, the PA Ministry of Interior declared a high state of alert for PA security officers to try and stem the tide of kidnappings.