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Pali Gunmen Kidnap AP Photographer In Gaza

From those lovers of terror at the DNC's Associated Press:

Palestinian gunmen in Gaza kidnap Associated Press photographer Associated Press photographer Emilio Morenatti. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

JERUSALEM (AP) – Palestinian gunmen kidnapped an Associated Press photographer in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, grabbing him as he walked out of his apartment and whisking him away in their vehicle, a witness said.

Emilio Morenatti, 37, the photographer, was heading out of his apartment for an AP car, where Majed Hamdan, an AP driver and translator, was waiting. Hamdan said four gunmen grabbed his keys and phone and told him to turn away, pressing a gun to his head and threatening to harm him if he moved.

Then they grabbed Morenatti, shoved him into a white Volkswagen and drove off, Hamdan said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-led Palestinian government, condemned the kidnapping, saying it "damages the reputation of the Palestinian people."

"The government will take all steps to ensure his release," Hamad said.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said the kidnapping "contradicts our culture and our morals and our religion." He said the Islamic militant group called on the kidnappers "not to harm Emilio and release him immediately."

Saeb Erekat, a confidant of President Mahmoud Abbas of the moderate Fatah Party, also condemned Morenatti's kidnapping, saying it "harms Palestinian interests."

"President Abbas is personally following the matter. We have been in touch with the government, the Presidential Guards and other security branches in order to acquire his immediate release," Erekat said…

"The Associated Press is working to find out just what happened to Emilio. We are in contact with Palestinian officials and leaders to learn more, and to try and obtain his release. Our main concern now, however, is for his safety," Curley said.

"Emilio has spent his career representing the values that AP stands for – truthful, accurate journalism that tells all sides of the story. It is a sad development when the men and women the world rely on to bring them objective news are subject to such dangers. No cause or motive can justify such senseless action," Curley said…

Palestinian militants in Gaza have often kidnapped foreign journalists and aid workers. All those kidnapped have been released unharmed. In August, two Fox News journalists were kidnapped in Gaza and held for two weeks.

DW posted this on the "Missed News" thread with the comment:

Heart-wrenching. The gunmen probably just want to pass on their latest instructions on what to report.

Which is all too possible it seems.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said the kidnapping "contradicts our culture and our morals and our religion."

That's what they always say.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 24th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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