Palestinian gunmen kidnap Algerian journalist

 

Palestinian gunmen abducted an Algerian Muslim journalist working for a French television station today.

Mohamed Ouathi, a soundman for France 3 Television, was walking back to his hotel in Gaza City with his television crew when three unmasked men armed with rifles threatened him, pulled him into their vehicle and drove away, according to his TV crew said.

We tried to intervene, to resist, but they threatened us very aggressively and dragged off Mohamed
Gwenaelle Lenoir, member of TV crew

"We tried to intervene, to resist, but they threatened us very aggressively and dragged off Mohamed," Gwenaelle Lenoir, one of the crew members, told France 3.

Unlike past abductions of journalists in Gaza, Mr Ouathi was not freed hours after the kidnapping, angering his TV station and the French government which demanded his immediate release.

"This isn't the first time we've had people abducted in Gaza, but in general they are released pretty quickly," said a France 3 legal official.

Palestinian cabinet minister and security official Mohammad Dahlan called the kidnapping "an offence to the Palestinian people" and said the government would work to find the man.

Palestinian militants in Gaza have kidnapped several foreigners in the past. The seizures

have been carried out by those opposed to reforms President Mahmoud Abbas has imposed on his Fatah group and those protesting against alleged corruption in his government.

Gaza gunmen abducted five foreign UN workers this month in two separate incidents but freed them hours later. Palestinian militants kidnapped an Israeli Arab CNN television producer in Gaza in 2004 and held him for a day.