Hamas militiamen tried to arrest a prominent Palestinian journalist late Saturday, but left the scene at the urging of Hamas political leaders after a group of reporters blocked the force from entering the man's home. The attempted arrest of Agence France Press reporter Sakher Abu El Oun came a day after Hamas beat a group of journalists covering a demonstration protesting the Islamic militant group's rule in the Gaza Strip. Abu El Oun, who heads the Gaza journalists' union, harshly criticized the Hamas crackdown. About 15 Hamas security men arrived at his home late Saturday, saying they had orders to arrest him. Abu El Oun called some colleagues, who rushed to the scene and formed a human chain around the home. Within minutes, officials from the office of deposed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a top Hamas official in Gaza, arrived to end the standoff. The officials persuaded the militiamen to leave, calling the incident a "misunderstanding." "Everything has been settled and freedom of speech and journalism is respected," said Taher Nunu, a spokesman for Haniyeh. AFP did not immediately comment.