Hassan Safi, a senior Hamas leader in Bethlehem area was released Friday evening by his captives 21 hours after kidnapping him from Bethlehem on Friday morning, Palestine News Network (PNN) reported.

Safi, who has been recently elected member of the Bethlehem Municipal council returned home in a good shape, but looked exhausted, PNN reported.

Safi, and two other Hamas leaders were kidnapped by a group called itself, “Al-Farouk Omar Bin Al-Khattab group.”

He accused Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, the armed wing of the ruling Fatah party of being involved in kidnapping him.

According to Safi, four masked men wearing the Israeli Army Uniform, armed with M-16 assault rifles arrested him from his house in the early hours of Friday morning.

Safi added that he was taken in a car while being blind-folded, and was locked in a dark room guarded by four masked gunmen, who did not treated him well, allowed him to pray, and served him food before the fast, but he refused to eat protesting his kidnapping.

Friday at noon, one of them told him that “his kidnapping was a message to Hamas that when they disrespect Fatah and the Palestinian Authority and attacks the PA’ headquarters or facilities in Gaza Strip, it will reflect badly on Hamas in the West Bank.”

Three Hamas leaders kidnapped by unknown gunmen

Three Hamas leaders have been kidnapped on Friday morning, by a group that called itself, ‘Al-Farouk Omar Bin El Khattab Group’, Palestinian media sources reported.

This kidnapping is the first public activity for this group, which has not mentioned any affiliation with any of the Palestinian political factions.

According to Maan News Network in Bethlehem, the group said in a statement that they kidnapped those leaders in response to what they called, Hamas’ neglecting of the Palestinian law.  The group warned Hamas against further violations of the law.

Dr. Reyad Al-Rass from Tulkarem, Bassem ‘Abeidu from Hebron and Hassan Safi from Bethlehem were kidnapped.

The first two were released few hours after they were kidnapped, however, Safi is still being held.

An earlier statement by Hamas said Safi was kidnapped by an undercover Israeli unit.

In response, the governor of Tulkarem district condemned the kidnapping and said in a statement published on Friday that Palestinians should unite to be able to face the coming challenges, stressing the need for the rule of law to prevail.

‘The rule of law should prevail and we must prove to the world that we are a nation seeking its freedom.’

Governor Izziddin Al-Sharif added that Palestinians must now allow the tension that happened in Gaza last week to be copied in the West Bank.

Residents of Tulkarem marched on Friday against the lack of law and order in the Palestinian areas and demanded the Palestinian Authority to bring the kidnappers to justice.