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Egyptian abducted in Gaza

Palestinian gunmen abducted an Egyptian military attache against the backdrop of talks in Cairo among Hamas leaders on Govt formation.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 19:05 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Palestinian gunmen abducted an Egyptian military attaché in Gaza on Thursday against the backdrop of talks in Cairo among Hamas leaders on forming a Palestinian government.

At the Erez border crossing between Gaza and Israel, Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinian gunmen who threw hand grenades and opened fire at troops, an army spokeswoman said in Tel Aviv.

In a separate incident near Erez, Israeli soldiers fired at two Palestinians who appeared to have been planting a bomb, the spokeswoman said. Palestinian medics said a Palestinian was killed.

The motive for the abduction of Egyptian diplomat Hussam el-Musli, the first kidnapping in Gaza in nearly three weeks, was not clear and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The Egyptian representative office identified him as a military attaché.

Witnesses said gunmen shot out the tyre of the car Musli was travelling in and put another bullet in its fender, forcing it to stop. They then dragged him to their vehicle and sped away.

Gaza has seen a rash of kidnappings since Israel's pullout in September. Musli was the first diplomat to be abducted in Gaza, where foreigners seized by militants with gripes against the Palestinian Authority have been released quickly.

Palestinian security forces were deployed on the main north-south road in the Gaza Strip, stopping vehicles for inspection in a search for the kidnapped Egyptian.

All Palestinian factions say they have good relations with Egypt, which has twice brokered a truce between militants and Israel.

Hamas leaders from the Palestinian territories and those in exile held talks in Cairo on Wednesday on establishing a new government following the Islamic militant group's crushing victory over the long-dominant Fatah in a January 25 election.

A power struggle among militant factions, gangs and security forces has intensified in Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 16:32 IST