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No demand from Britons'' kidnappers - Gaza police - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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GAZA, (Reuters) – The unidentified kidnappers of three Britons in the Gaza Strip have not presented demands or been in contact almost two days after the abduction, the Palestinian police chief said on Friday.

&#34They have not made any demand and they have not revealed their identities,&#34 Ala Hosni told a news conference. Human rights worker Kate Burton was seized along with her visiting parents in southern Gaza on Wednesday.

&#34We are chasing them and our hand will eventually reach those criminals,&#34 he said.

Foreigners taken hostage in Gaza have usually been released within hours. The kidnappers, who have demanded jobs or the release of prisoners as ransom, generally make contact with the authorities to immediately begin negotiations.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw”s office said he would probably telephone senior Palestinian officials later on Friday to appeal for help.

&#34Foreign Office staff continue to liaise closely with Palestinian officials at all levels. All are working hard for the safe release of the Burton family,&#34 a spokesman said.

BUNDLED INTO WHITE VEHICLE

Witnesses said around seven kidnappers, armed with automatic rifles, had pulled over a car used by 25-year-old Burton and her parents, Hugh and Helen. The Britons were bundled into a white vehicle that sped away.

Security officials made contact with an armed group on Wednesday but later found it was not involved.

Gaza has seen a rash of kidnappings since Israel quit the coastal territory in September after 38 years of occupation, a move welcomed internationally as a potential spur to peace but which left the Palestinian Authority struggling for control.

A Dutchman and an Australian, teachers at a Gaza school, were briefly abducted last week by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which demanded that its leaders be released from jail.

As Kate Burton worked for Al Mazen, a group that documents alleged Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights, her abduction sparked popular protests in Gaza.

&#34It is regrettable that they kidnapped this great woman,&#34 Hosni said. &#34This girl is not from the (Israeli) occupation army, to be kidnapped.&#34

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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