Hostage journalists in Gaza freed

Palestinian armed men have released a US and British journalist unharmed, hours after kidnapping them in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Interior Ministry said.

    A number of foreigners were kidnapped in Gaza recently

    A group of Palestinian armed men abducted an American and British journalist on Wednesday as they drove through the central Gaza town of Khan Yunus, according to their employer, the Knight Ridder newspaper chain.


    Knight Ridder identified the journalists as Dion Nissenbaum, an American reporter for the company, and British photographer Adam Pletts, who was working on contract for Knight Ridder, according to a statement issued by the company.


    The identity of the kidnappers and their demands were not immediately clear.


    According to Palestinian security officials, the journalists were travelling down Gaza's coastal road with a Palestinian translator when two cars filled with armed men drove up and stopped them.


    The armed men let the translator go, but abducted the reporters and drove south in the direction of the Gaza town of Rafah, police said.


    Series of kidnappings


    The two were the latest foreign journalists to be kidnapped

     by armed men in the Gaza Strip.


    There have been a series of kidnappings of foreign journalists and aid workers in Gaza in recent weeks, although all of the hostages have been released unharmed. 


    Many Palestinian fighters have
    been killed by undercover troops

    The Israeli army meanwhile carried out swift arrest raids across the West Bank.

    Undercover forces - some disguised as vegetable vendors - arrested Ibrahim Ighnimat, a Hamas fighter linked to a 1997  bombing that killed three Israelis, four shooting attacks and the kidnapping and killing of an Israeli soldier, the army said.

    Israel has been hunting for Ighnimat, 47, for eight years and has doggedly collected information about him, said Lieutenant Colonel David Kimchi, commander of the operation.

    Vegetable vendors


    Troops followed Ighnimat for several days and learned his daily routine before the arrest in the village of Tsurif, Kimchi said.


    The "vegetable vendors" were used to get forces into the town - considered one of the more hostile in the Hebron region, Kimchi said.

    Ighnimat was sitting in the yard of his house when the soldiers arrived and tried to flee, but was arrested almost immediately, Kimchi said. 

    In another raid, the army arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who told his interrogators that resistance fighters from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - which has ties to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement - pressured him to carry out a bombing after he quarreled with his father.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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