Palestinian militants kidnap then release UN staff in Gaza Strip

Khan Yunis refugee camp. UNRWA provides education, health care, social services and emergency relief to Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip. (Arjan El Fassed)

A Palestinian militant group kidnapped three staff members of the main United Nations agency helping Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip this morning, releasing them several hours later following negotiations.

The employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were taken in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip just before noon local time.

After talks, the nature of which has not been disclosed, they were released into the custody of UNRWA and of the Palestinian Authority. They have now returned safely to the Agency’s headquarters in Gaza.

The 55-year-old agency has been providing education, health care, social services, micro-credit and emergency relief to over four million Palestinian refugees living in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

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