Two foreigners kidnapped in the Gaza Strip
Two foreign teachers were abducted by Palestinian gunmen in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, further confirming fears of growing lawlessness in the Strip. The two, an Australian and a Dutchman, were reportedly pulled from their automobile as they left for work at the private American School in Gaza.
Similar incidents have occurred in the past involving foreigners; generally, kidnappers demand jobs, money or the release of prisoners from the Palestinian Authority in return for the hostages.
Most are released within hours unharmed, though the incident confirms fears of growing chaos and the inability of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to prevent it.
One witness who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters, "They were intercepted by between two to three other cars and then taken away."
Gaza residents said that the men were en route to the last day of classes before the upcoming Christmas break. Students at the school were sent home after the incident.
In recent local elections, the Islamic group Hamas won significant support amongst Gaza's population of 1.3 million, starkly outnumbering supporters of Abbas and his Fatah faction.
On Tuesday, some 100 gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, part of Fatah, seized public buildings in the Gaza Strip and demanding jobs and threatening to prevent foreigners from entering the Strip.
Israeli troops withdrew their forces from the Gaza Strip in September after nearly 38 years of occupation.