A senior member of the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, said
that his group took part in an operation that freed an American citizen
captured by a group that called itself “Ansar Al Sunna”. Michael
Philips, 24, from the United States was held by the group for 24-hours.

Philips was found tied in an apartment in Nablus, a senior member of the brigades said. The member added that one of the kidnappers agreed to reveal the location of Philips for a guarantee that he would not be harmed.

The member added that the kidnappers are related to a new group in Gaza, but did not disclose the name of the group.

Jamal Tirawi, Fateh member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), who oversaw the efforts to release Philips said that elements in Gaza are to be blamed for the abduction, particularly the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), the Israeli Ynentnews reported.

Tirawi added that President Mahmoud Abbas apologized to the American resident.

Meanwhile, a senior PRC member told the Ynetnews that his group is not involved in the abduction.

The member added that the group, despite its position against the United States and Israel, will not support the abduction of innocent American citizens. 

The member added that the kidnappers carried their attack in the name of an “irresponsible group in Gaza”, and said that his group will not “let Palestine turn into Iraq or Afghanistan.

After his release, Philips was taken to the house of a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.

Philips said that he did not know what the kidnappers wanted from him, or who they were but said that he “knows who put him in the taxi and abducted him”. 

He did not comment on how he was treated by his kidnappers, but said; “I cannot say they treated me politely or kindly”, the Ynetnews reported. 

Group said to be holding American citizen, presses demands
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies, October 12, 00:19

A group calling itself Ansar Al Sunna said on Wednesday that it
kidnapped an American student in the West Bank. The group said that the
abduction was carried out “to confront the Unites States”, and to force
the release of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.

The demands of the group were made to journalists in the Gaza Strip by masked gunmen who claimed that the represent Ansar Al Sunna.

The group said it is holding Michael Philips, 24, from the United States.

“Our demands is that Israel should immediately release all detained women and children”, a masked member of the group stated.

The masked man said that the abduction of Philips came to “confront the American war on Islam”. They gave no deadline or evidence linking them to the American. 

Palestinian security sources said that they are investigating the report. The American consulate could not confirm the Philips was abducted, but an official speaking on condition of anonymity said that Philip went missing. The official added that he is not authorized to talk to reporters.

The group that claims the abduction faxed a copy of Philips passport, the Israeli VISA and identification card to news agencies.

Samah Atout, manager of Project Hope said that she received a phone call saying Phillips was abducted. She did not give further details but said that Philips works with the project, in refugee camps near Nablus.

Ala' Sanakra, leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, denounced the abduction.

“We do not have any relation with this incident”, Sanakra said, “If this abduction is true, it will harm our people, our struggle”.

Sanakra added that his group is aiding the Palestinian police in searching for Philips.

Armed group claims abducting American in Nablus, P.A investigates the claim
Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies, October, 11, 2006 17:52

A Palestinian security source reported on Wednesday that the security
devices are probing a claim by an armed group in Nablus, in the
northern part of the west Bank, that they abducted an American student
in the city.

The group, calling itself Ansar Al Sunna, claimed responsibility for the abduction and said that it was carried out in Nablus.

The group faxed Reuters a photocopy of the students' passport, Israeli visa and his identification card.
Palestinian security sources and sources at the U.S Consulate in Jerusalem said that there were checking into the report.

P.A security sources said that the group claims that Michael Philips has been kidnapped in Nablus, on Wednesday.

Ansar Al Sunna group said that it faxed the student's passport to Palestinian news agencies.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army said that it is also looking into the report and that the army does not have any confirmation of the abduction claim. No demands were made for the release of the abductee.