Hamas, Fatah agree to release captives

3 Fatah men, 13 Hamas men, and 1 French photographer were kidnapped.

masked gunmen 298 88 (photo credit: AP)
masked gunmen 298 88
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas and Fatah agreed to swap abductees Monday night following a day of renewed turmoil and violence between the two Palestinian factions. "In the framework of the efforts invested aimed at ending the spilling of Palestinian blood, we immediately worked to stop the confrontation between Fatah and Hamas in the north Gaza Strip. [Following this dialogue] the groups arrived at an agreement that will bring the release of the kidnapped from both sides and a return to the calm" an announcement published by the two groups late Monday night read. Following the announcement, all captives were released. Earlier Monday, seven of the kidnapped Hamas members kidnapped had been released. According to the released Hamas members, Hamas gunmen abducted the brother of a senior Fatah member in northern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabaliya, provoking Samih al-Madhoun of Fatah's armed wing to seize a number of Hamas loyalists. A total of three Fatah members were abducted by Hamas, which had 13 loyalists kidnapped by Fatah, the released Hamas men said. Local media reported two people wounded in gun battles that coincided with the kidnappings. Also Monday, a French news agency Agence France Presse photographer was kidnapped in Gaza City on Monday just before sundown, the news agency and security officials said. AFP identified the photographer as Jaime Razuri, 50, from Peru. 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 kidnapping happened in central Gaza City, in the area where many foreign news agencies have offices. They said the victim was standing at an intersection when about five masked men approached him, pushed him in a car and sped away. The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details. There has been no public claim of responsibility for the kidnapping. The AFP reporter said the photographer spent most of his career covering Latin America. This would be just the latest in a string of kidnappings of foreigners in Gaza in recent months. Most have been carried out by disgruntled workers seeking promises of payment of long overdue salaries or splinter militant groups. In most cases, the victims have been released unharmed within hours. An exception was the abduction of two Fox News employees over the summer - they were held for two weeks. Most of the kidnapped foreigners have been journalists, but aid workers have also been targets.