A senior Palestinian official reported that gunmen who abducted a
Spanish photographer working with the Associated Press in the Gaza
Strip, freed him hours after abducting him.
Tawfiq Abu Khousa, a spokesperson of the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said that the kidnappers handed Emilio Morenatti, 37, to Palestinian security agents.
“He is no longer in the hands of the kidnappers”, Abu Khousa stated.
Morenatti was abducted by unknown gunmen as he walked out of his apartment in Gaza City. The gunmen placed him in their vehicle and drove away.
He was heading to Associated Press car where the agency driver and translator, Majed Hamdan, was waiting for him.
Hamdan stated that four masked gunmen grabbed his phone and key and ordered him to run away after pressing a gun to his head.
No party claimed responsibility for the abduction; the gunmen were driving a Volkswagen.
Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyya, said that he instructed Interior Minister, Sa'id Siyam, to do everything in order to secure the release of the photographer.
Haniyya met AP representatives in Gaza and said that the “government is conducting its utmost efforts to secure the safe release of Morenatti. He also expressed solidarity with the Morenatti's family.
A group of unknown gunmen kidnapped Imilio Muratini, a Spanish
cameraman working in Gaza for the Associated Press AP on Tuesday
Muratini was kidnapped while leaving his house in Gaza city to go to work. A group of unknown masked gunmen rushed to him, forced him into a car that was parked nearby, then left taking him with them.
No Palestinian group has clamed responsibility for the attack. This is not the first time that journalists have been kidnapped in Gaza.
The last case involved the kidnapping of two journalists working for the American FOX News TV in Gaza; they were released unharmed after one week.
The Palestinian government condemned the act. Dr. Ghazi Hamad, the Palestinian government spokesperson, called it illegal and explained that such acts only destroy the image of Palestinian people and their struggle for freedom.
Dr. Hamad called upon the kidnapers to release the Spanish journalist immediately with no conditions, and said that the government will do its best to release him.
Sourced from Al Jazeera.net and WAFA