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Journalist abducted in Gaza Strip, released after several hours

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced relief on learning that Palestinian journalist Abdelsalam Mussa Abu Askar, Abu Dhabi TV's bureau chief in Gaza, was freed several hours after being kidnapped on 18 May 2007 in the Gaza Strip.

The press freedom organisation was told that he was released thanks to the invention of Gen. Burhane Mohammed, the head of the Egyptian security delegation based in Gaza.

Abdelsalam Mussa Abu Askar was kidnapped as he was returning home on 18 May in Gaza City. His colleagues said members of the Hamas-affiliated Executive Force were involved in his abduction.

Aged 43, Asker was abducted as he was driving to his home in Al-Nassar, in the northwest section of Gaza City. The leadership of the Hamas Executive Force denied any involvement in his abduction.

The resumption of fighting between rival Palestinian groups has made it very difficult for journalists to work in the Gaza Strip. Most residents are staying indoors and, for the most part, TV journalists are only able to film from the windows of their bureaus. On 17 May, about 40 journalists were trapped for several hours on the 9th floor of a building housing many news outlets as it was raked with gunfire.

This is the list of journalists who have been taken hostage in the Gaza Strip since 2005:

- Ramon Lobo and Carmen Secanella, held for less than two hours.
- Mohammed Ouathi, held for nine days.
- Lorenzo Cremonesi, held for a day.
- Dion Nissenbaum and Adam Pletts, held for several hours.
- Caroline Laurent, Alfred Yaghobzadeh and Yong Tae-young, held for a day.
- Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, held for 14 days.
- Emilio Morenatti, held for several hours.
- Jaime Razuri, held for seven days.
- Alan Johnston, still held.
- Abdelsalam Mussa Abu Askar, held for several hours.

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