Palestinians released on Wednesday the last four of 11 foreigners abducted the previous day in retaliation for an Israeli raid on a Palestinian prison in Jericho, the Palestinian interior ministry said.
The four – a Canadian, two French nationals and a South Korean journalist – who had been abducted from a hotel in Gaza city, were brought under police escort to the Palestinian Preventive Security headquarters.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cut short a trip to Europe because of the Israeli action, called the prison storming an ‘unforgivable crime’ and ‘insult’ to the Palestinian people.
‘There was coordination, it was pre-planned and everyone should understand that,’ he told reporters in Jericho Wednesday, echoing accusations by other Palestinians that Israel had coordinated the raid with Britain and the United States, whose guards had left the prison minutes before the Israeli tanks and troops stormed it.
Israeli Defense Minister verified the Palestinian accusation, stating that Israeli forces had been coordinating the assault with British and U.S. guards since last week.
European Union policymakers urged Israelis and Palestinians to show restraint in tackling the latest outburst of violence.
European Parliament President Josep Borrell told the European assembly that the raid was ‘an unnecessary and illegal military operation’ and the violence it had provoked was ‘deeply worrying.’
The protests that broke out throughout the Palestinian occupied territories on Tuesday and Wednesday were largely non-violent, and thousands of Palestinians throughout the Palestinian territories participated.