Fran threatens to stop aid to PA

Unless French journalist kidnapped in Gaza City is freed unharmed.

journalist (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
France has threatened to halt financial and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian Authority unless a French journalist who was kidnapped in Gaza City earlier this week is freed unharmed. PA officials said the threat was delivered to the PA on behalf of French President Jacques Chirac, who is "extremely disturbed" by the abduction. In a related development, three Palestinian journalists were attacked on Monday night by unidentified assailants north of Khan Yunis. According to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the three suffered moderate stab wounds. It identified the three as Shams Odeh and his brother, Muhammad, who work for Reuters, and Fayez Abu Halaweh, a TV technician from east Jerusalem. Unidentified gunmen on Sunday night kidnapped the French journalist who was in the Gaza Strip to cover the disengagement, prompting some foreign TV crews to leave the area out of fear for their lives. Some 900 foreign journalists are in Gaza City to cover Palestinian preparations for the disengagement. The journalist was identified as Muhammad Ouathi, an Algerian Muslim with French citizenship who was working as a soundman for French Television Channel III. More than 80 non-governmental organizations on Tuesday called for the immediate release of Ouathi. They also urged the PA to arrest the kidnappers and bring them to trial.