France slams Gaza kidnapping

France has condemned the kidnapping in Gaza City of a French television sound technician and on Monday called for his release.

    There have been a series of abductions in the occupied strip

    "French authorities condemn the kidnapping last night in Gaza of Mohamed Ouathi, a sound engineer for France 3 television, and call for his immediate release," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.

    "Our consulate in Jerusalem is fully mobilized to this end, in liaison with the relevant Palestinian authorities," it said.

    Snatched at gunpoint

    Ouathi was snatched at gunpoint outside his hotel in Gaza City late on Sunday and bundled into a waiting car before being driven off, the Palestinian security sources said.

    The incident came hours before Israel formally began its pullout from the Gaza Strip.

    Palestinian security services said they had no information about him on Monday.

    "We have no news about him and we still do not know who was responsible for the abduction, which no one has claimed," a security services spokesman said.

    The Palestinian Journalists Union condemned the abduction, calling it a "cowardly act" that harms the Palestinian cause.

    The incident was the latest in a series of abductions in Gaza in recent weeks and comes just three days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered security services to protect foreign workers in the Gaza Strip.



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