Mahdi al-Hanbali, a member of the Hamas party, was captured by supporters of the rival Fateh party in Nablus on Saturday. Monday afternoon he was released, and at a press conference in Nablus he appeared looking shaken but announcing he had been unharmed by his captors.
The capture of al-Hanbali came in the midst of the latest wave of factional violence between the two major Palestinian political parties, Fateh and Hamas, that claimed at least eleven lives over the last week.
A day after his capture, a video of the Nablus deputy mayor was released that showed al-Hanbali in captivity, with a statement from his captors that the kidnapping was "retalitation for the crimes committed against Fateh supporters in Gaza."
The statement added, "For any crime that takes place against one of our people in Gaza, there will be an operation in West Bank and we will not exclude anybody from this decision."
His release comes just after the release of a Peruvian reporter in Gaza, who was held by an unknown armed group. But it also follows the capture of five Hamas supporters in Beit Lahia, in the Gaza Strip, by Fateh supporters on Monday evening. Three of those abducted were released an hour later, but negotiations by outside parties continue for the release of the other two.