Two internationals who were kidnapped in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night were released Wednesday afternoon after intervention by some Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources reported.

The two internationals, a Briton and an Austrian, were seized on Tuesday night by Palestinian armed masked men in Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian security sources. The two are foreign aid workers in a water purification project in the strip.

The British and Austrian governments  had sent diplomats to the strip to deal with the issue after confirming the kidnapping of their nationals.

The Palestine News Network said the kidnappers belonged to the Al-Issa family, who hoped to use the hostages as bargaining chips to secure the release of seven of their relatives from a Palestinian jail.

The seven are in prison for being involved with an attack at the Gaza central prison last March in which two Palestinian policemen were killed.

The family raided the jail to capture a Palestinian accused of killing a family member in revenge, but the PA refused to hand him to the family and kept him in jail.

Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef ordered all the security branches to investigate the incident, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa.

The Palestinian Authority has faced several recent incidents of lawlessness.

Two days ago, armed masked men attacked a senior Palestinian Interior Ministry official and beat him badly as he was on his way to his office in Ramallah.

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