Chaos in Gaza Strip grows as two Japanese activists escape kidnapping attempt
Two Japanese peace activists working in the southern Gaza Strip managed to survive a kidnapping attempt on Monday. The two, a man and his female cousin, were walking at the time in the Barazil neighborhood of Rafah where they work for a local NGO, when gunmen attempted unsuccessfully to kidnap them.
They reportedly escaped to a nearby building where they phoned police, who arrived at the scene immediately but were unable to apprehend the suspects.
A similar incident occurred earlier in the week when an Italian man was abducted briefly in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis and then released, according to Xinhuanet.
Last week, a British woman and her family were also kidnapped in the Gaza Strip and released after three days.
Kidnapping of foreigners in the Gaza Strip is frequent, with captors usually demanding employment from Palestinian Authorities in return for hostages, who are usually freed unharmed after short periods.
Also on Monday, gunmen took over several government buildings in the Gaza Strip. The increasing violence and chaos threatens to weaken Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, while strengthening the Hamas faction, according to theAP.
Hamas is basing its campaign on pledges to return law and order to the area.
Several members of the ruling Fatah party continued to press Abbas to delay upcoming parliamentary elections, set for January 25, for fear of sweeping victory of Hamas.