Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


AFP Photographer Still Missing, Chaos Returns in Gaza

A photographer for a French news agency was kidnapped by gunmen in Gaza on Monday, as chaos returned to the Gaza Strip.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 1/2/2007, 3:21 PM / Last Update: 1/1/2007, 10:04 PM

AFP and Palestinian Authority security sources say the photographer, Jaime Razuri, is a Peruvian national who works for the Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Razuri was grabbed Monday night by a group of masked men while standing at an intersection outside the agency’s office in Gaza City. The kidnappers pushed him into a car and zoomed off.

There has been no claim of responsibility by any terror organization.

The abduction was immediately condemned in a statement by the Foreign Press Association, which represents foreign journalists covering Israel and the PA. The organization’s offices are located in Tel Aviv.

“We utterly condemn the continued harassment of journalists in this way,” read the statement. “We must be allowed to work freely and without fear of kidnapping in Gaza,” it said.

Aides to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) also condemned the action. Terrorists often use kidnappings as a way to pressure the PA government into giving them jobs.

Gaza terrorists have kidnapped a number of foreign journalists in the past year, including an Associated Press photographer who was held for several hours, and two journalists from the U.S.’s Fox News Channel who were freed two weeks later.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare has reopened among terrorist organizations in Gaza, particularly between Hamas and Fatah, who are struggling for control of the PA government.

The Gaza streets have run with the blood of members of both factions for months in what has become a militia war, with occasional breaks in the fighting.

Three fighters from Fatah were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. Fatah gunmen abducted eight Hamas terrorists in retaliation, breaking a truce that lasted less than a month. All the captives were released several hours later, except for the AFP photographer, whose whereabouts and condition were unknown Tuesday morning.

The Fatah members who were kidnapped include the brothers of the head of the al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist organization in northern Gaza, the military wing of the Fatah faction.

Another senior official of the terrorist organization was also targeted by Hamas gunmen who fired two ‘Yasin’ mortar shells at the northern Gaza home of Munzer Abur Nasr, in the town of Beit Lahiyeh. There were no reports of injuries although the building was seriously damaged.

Bloody clashes resumed in the streets, with gun battles between Hamas and Fatah supporters wounding three PA residents, including a boy who was caught in the crossfire.

Gunmen from both factions set up roadblocks as close as a few hundred meters from each other, renewing fears of an outbreak of civil war.