Riad Abdel Karim al-Raz, 47, also the head of the engineering department at Al-Najah University in Nablus was seized from his home in the town of Tulkarim late on Thursday by Arabic-speaking masked men, his wife said.

 

She said the men, firing in the air, pounded on the door of their home and then escaped with her husband.

 

Al-Raz is a political leader of the Hamas in the area.

 

Guard freed


A bodyguard of Palestinian intelligence chief Tariq Abu Rajab, kidnapped earlier during the day in Gaza by unidentified armed men has meanwhile been freed.

 

Armed men intercepted Abu Rajab's car in al-Wihda street in the centre of Gaza City and took the bodyguard Samer al-Jour away, Aljazeera reported.

 

The kidnappers fired in the air and at Abu Rajab's car.

 

Al-Jour was released shortly afterwards and taken to Kamal Radwan hospital where he was treated for gunshot wounds
 
An Interior Ministry spokesman said he did not know who was behind the abduction.

 

"We know that a group of unknown gunmen opened fire in his direction and then took him away, but we don't know where they took him or why. We are investigating," the spokesman Tawfik Abu Khusaf said.

 

Assassination bid

 

Elsewhere, gunmen opened fire on the leader of the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza City's Shatti refugee camp, a spokesman for the movement said. 
  

Abu Yusef al-Kuka escaped unharmed, but the walls of his home were riddled with bullets, the spokesman said. 
  

It was believed to be "an assassination attempt", the spokesman said, without elaborating on who was behind the attempt.

 

The two incidents are symptomatic of the ongoing security chaos reigning in the Palestinian territories and particularly in Gaza. 
  

The Palestinian Authority has been deeply embarrassed by the spiralling unrest which has cast grave doubt on its ability to exert law and order in the territory from which Israel withdrew after a 38-year occupation.