Palestinians negotiate to free kidnapped Britons

Palestinian security forces were today negotiating with gunmen who kidnapped a British human rights worker and her parents, a security official said, the latest in a wave of kidnappings of foreigners in the chaotic Gaza Strip.

The woman was identified as Kate Burton, 25, a worker with the Al Mezan human rights group in Gaza, said Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa. Her parents were kidnapped with her, Abu Khoussa said.

“This is part of a new fad of kidnapping for extortion and seeking jobs,” Abu Khoussa said.

The abduction yesterday was the latest of several kidnappings of foreigners that have undermined Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ attempts to establish order in Gaza following Israel’s withdrawal this summer.

In most cases, the kidnappers have sought jobs in the Palestinian security forces, the release of imprisoned relatives or other personal matters. In all cases, the victims have been released safely.

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