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Masked gunmen try to kidnap U.N. refugee mission chief in Gaza - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Three masked Palestinian gunmen fired on a vehicle carrying the chief of the U.N. refugee mission in Gaza and tried to kidnap him, the U.N. official said.

No one was hurt in the kidnap attempt in northern Gaza, said John Ging, head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.

Earlier in the week, unidentified gunmen kidnapped a BBC reporter in Gaza City, Alan Johnston, who remains in captivity, his whereabouts unknown.

Ging said he, a driver and a security official were traveling in an armored vehicle when the gunmen jumped out of a white Subaru and opened fire. “They tried to force open the car, but our driver extracted himself from that situation,” and sped away as the gunmen continued firing, he said. “This is a shocking development. We are still considering how to deal with this,” Ging said.

The vehicle was clearly marked with the U.N. insignia and a U.N. flag, he said. Eleven bullets pierced the car, Ging added.

The incident took place about half a mile (one kilometer) from the Erez passenger crossing into Israel, he said. No one claimed responsibility.

In the past 18 months, more than a dozen foreign journalists and aid workers have been abducted in Gaza, an area plagued by crime, political violence and lawlessness. Most of the kidnappings have been carried out by gunmen seeking favors from the government or trying to settle scores with rivals.

In most cases, victims have been released unharmed within hours.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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