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West Bank kidnap drama over cartoons

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  • Paul
    Aljazeera West Bank kidnap drama over cartoons http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3082A6BB-9465-4EB5-9935-32DC50371065.htm Palestinian gunmen seized and
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2006
      Aljazeera
      West Bank kidnap drama over cartoons
      http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3082A6BB-9465-4EB5-9935-32DC50371065.htm


      Palestinian gunmen seized and later released a German after militants
      threatened violence and demanded an apology for caricatures of Prophet
      Muhammad that appeared in European newspapers.

      The rare kidnapping in the occupied West Bank took Muslim anger to a new
      level in a controversy over balancing Western freedom of the press with
      religious sensibilities.

      In the Gaza Strip, where tensions are also high, a hand grenade was
      thrown into the compound of the French Cultural Centre. No one was hurt
      in the night-time incident, security officials said.

      Palestinian security officials said gunmen from a militant faction in
      President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction seized Christoph Kasten, 21,
      from a hotel coffee shop in the city of Nablus and took him to an empty
      field before releasing him.

      There was no immediate word from the kidnappers on their motives, but
      the security officials said the militants were showing their anger at
      publication of the cartoons in Denmark, Norway, France, Germany and Spain.

      Muslim anger

      Islamic tradition prohibits realistic depictions of prophets, and
      considers caricatures of them blasphemous.

      "Yes, I am OK," Kasten, an English teacher, told reporters in the
      offices of the Preventive Security agency in Nablus. "Two Palestinian
      gunmen asked me to go with them. I didn't know where. They did not make
      any demands. After a while, they put me in a taxi and told me the taxi
      would take me to the police."

      Earlier, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed faction in the Fatah
      movement, threatened in a news conference to kidnap citizens of France,
      Denmark and Norway if they did not leave Nablus within 72 hours.
      Reuters
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