Head of Palestinian Lands Authority freed

The director of the Palestinian Lands Authority was released after being held for two hours by kidnappers who demanded a plot of land along Gaza's Mediterranean beach, the official said Thursday. Atef al-Khudari was kidnapped on Wednesday by three masked gunmen and released later in the day. He said the kidnappers roughed him up during the abduction, but later escorted him to his office. No one was arrested for the kidnapping, a practice that has become increasingly common in recent months, with the perpetrators often demanding jobs or other favors from the government.