GAZA (Reuters) – Palestinian colleagues of a Peruvian photographer abducted by gunmen in Gaza this week demanded his release on Wednesday, saying the 50-year-old’s life was in danger because he needed medicine for heart disease.
Sakher Abu El-Awn, Gaza office manager of the French news agency Agence France-Presse, said Jaime Razuri was taking several types of medication, including for the heart problem.
The photographer was seized outside the agency’s office in Gaza City on Monday.
“We believe his life is at serious risk and we urge his captors to release him immediately,” Abu El-Awn told Reuters.
“He has been without his medicine for three days. He is supposed to be under a strict food program because of his health condition.”
Razuri’s kidnapping is the latest in a spate of abductions of foreign journalists and aid workers in Gaza in the past year. All have been released unharmed, most after one or two days in captivity.
There has been no claim of responsibility for Razuri’s abduction. All militant factions have condemned the incident.
Palestinian officials have expressed growing exasperation at the kidnappings. One senior Palestinian security official, who declined to be identified, said he advised all foreigners to leave Gaza until security conditions stabilized.
“We prefer that all foreigners leave Gaza because of the possibilities of more kidnappings,” the official said, adding he had no specific intelligence of additional threats.
Militants have abducted foreigners usually to try to put pressure on the Palestinian government to give them jobs or press for the release of detained colleagues.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is part of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, said its fighters had been cooperating with security services to search for Razuri.
“The captors of the journalist, whoever they are, must release him now,” said spokesman Abu Qusai.
Razuri’s colleagues have made appeals to the public for help on local radio stations.
In two separate incidents in October, gunmen in Gaza seized and held a Spanish aid worker and a photographer working for the Associated Press news agency for several hours.
In August, militants kept two journalists from the U.S. Fox News Channel captive for two weeks.
Some reports have suggested that captors had asked for money in return for the release of some foreign hostages in the past but it has never been clear whether any payments were made.