Emilio Morenatti, 37, the photographer, was leaving his temporary apartment in Gaza, heading toward a car where Majed Hamdan, an AP driver and translator, was waiting. Hamdan said four gunmen grabbed his keys and phone and told him to turn away, pressing a gun to his head and threatening to harm him if he moved.
Then they grabbed Morenatti, shoved him into a white Volkswagen and drove off, Hamdan said.
Morenatti, from Jerez, Spain, has been working for the AP in Jerusalem since April 2005. As part of his job, he would periodically go to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Previously, Morenatti covered the war in Afghanistan for the AP. He also worked for EFE, the Spanish news agency.
PA gov't: We'll take all steps to ensure his releaseGhazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas government, condemned the kidnapping which he said "damages the reputation of the Palestinian people."
"The government will take all steps to ensure his release," Hamad said in a statement.
"The Associated Press is working to find out just what happened to Emilio. We are in contact with Palestinian officials and leaders to
"Emilio has spent his career representing the values that AP stands for — truthful, accurate journalism that tells all sides of the story. It is a sad development when the men and women the world rely on to bring them objective news are subject to such dangers. No cause or motive can justify such senseless action."
Palestinian militants in Gaza have often kidnapped foreign journalists and aid workers. All those kidnapped have been released unharmed. Earlier this month, unknown gunmen kidnapped a US student volunteer in the West Bank but released him within hours.
Two journalists working for the US Fox News channel were abducted in the Gaza Strip in August. They were held by gunmen for two weeks before being freed.