Photo: AFP
Gunmen in Gaza (Archive photo: AFP)
Photo: AFP
Kidnapped photojournalist Jaime Razuri (archive photo)
Photo: AP

Wave of kidnappings in Gaza

Peruvian photographer working for French press agency in Strip kidnapped; no immediate claim of responsibility for abduction; all captive Hamas, Fatah gunmen released following agreement reached between PFLP, Islamic Jihad

Palestinian gunmen kidnapped a Peruvian photographer working for the French press agency in the Gaza Strip on Monday, Agence France-Presse and Palestinian security sources said.


There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the abduction of Jaime Razuri.


An AFP reporter said the photographer was returning from an assignment in Gaza and was abducted at gunpoint as he got out of his car with his driver.


Palestinian security officials said the victim was standing at an intersection when about five masked men approached him, pushed him in a car and sped away.


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered his forces to conduct a search for the kidnapped photographer.


Palestinian security officials estimate that the kidnapping is related to tensions between one of Gaza’s major clans and the Hamas security forces.


Militants in Gaza have often abducted foreigners in the past, usually to try to put pressure on the Palestinian government to give them jobs.


In two separate incidents in October, gunmen in Gaza seized and held a Spanish aid worker and a photographer working for the Associated Press news agency for several hours.


In August, Gaza militants kept two journalists from the US Fox News channel captive for two weeks.


Gazans fear civil war

Palestinian security sources reported later on Monday that activists from Hamas' military wing and the special security force have abducted three Fatah activists. Amongst the abducted are the brothers of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades' Commander on the northern Gaza Strip.


The reports said that al-Aqsa men retaliated by kidnapping 10 Hamas activists. Gun battles also erupted between the two parties, and two people, one from each faction, were wounded in the incident. 


A Fatah source said later that the group released seven Hamas members it had kidnapped earlier in the day.


It was also reported that Hamas gunmen kidnapped the bodyguard of senior Fatah official Mansour Shaliel in northern Gaza. Shaliel’s men kidnapped 8 Hamas activists in response. 


The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Islamic Jihad announced early Tuesday that an agreement had been reached to release the four Fatah prisoners and the 18 Hamas prisoners.


The two organizations said in the statement, “As part of the efforts to end the blood shed within Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Islamic Jihad started an immediate cease of confrontations between Hamas and Fatah in the northern Gaza Strip, and reached an agreement to release prisoners on both sides, and to clam down in order to preserve Palestinian blood.” 


All the prisoners were released shortly after.


Meanwhile, Palestinian sources from the northern Gaza Strip reported that Hamas gunmen fired two 'Yasin' mortar shells at the home of a senior al- Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades official in Beit Lahiya, Munzer Abur Nasr. Eye witnesses reported that the third floor of the building partially collapsed as a result of the shells.


Earlier Palestinians reported that Fatah and Hamas are greatly increasing their presence in the streets, especially in the north of the Gaza Strip. The report said that the parties were setting up roadblocks at a distance of dozens of meters from one another, and there is great fear that a war might erupt.


News agencies contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 01.01.07, 18:04
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