A previously unknown group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of three British citizens in the Gaza Strip and threatened to abduct more foreigners if Israel doesn't end the implentation of a "no-go" zone in the northern Gaza Strip, used in response to continued Kassam rocket attacks on southern Israel.
The group, calling itself the Mujahedeen Brigades Jerusalem Branch, issued a statement early Saturday saying that it agreed to release the hostages as a "goodwill gesture" after receiving assurances that Britain and the European Union would seek an end to the Israeli buffer zone.
"In case this doesn't happen, the next time we will act differently and the international observers for the next Palestinian elections will be our target," said the statement. The Palestinians are set to hold parliamentary elections on Jan. 25.
The Al-Jazeera satellite channel also aired a video issued by the group, showing a masked gunman next to one of the hostages, Kate Burton, a 25-year-old human rights worker.
In the video, the group condemns the no-go zone, Israel's targeted killings of Palestinian militants and demanded the release of prisoners held by Israel.