ISRAEL and the Occupied Territories, including the Palestinian Authority Territories

AUGUST 14, 2005
Posted: August 18, 2005

Mohamed Ouathi, Daily News

Ouathi, a television soundman for of France 3 Television, was forced into a car by three men with rifles as he walked to his hotel with colleagues in Gaza City, according to international press reports.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction. Ouathi was among the large media contingent covering Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials in Gaza have said they are helping to find Ouathi, a French national.

Kidnappings, including those targeting members of the press, have been on the rise in Gaza over the last year. In separate incidents earlier this month gunmen seized five U.N. workers in the Gaza Strip, but released them unharmed the same day. In September 2004, CNN producer Riad Ali was seized at gunpoint from a car in which he was riding with CNN colleagues. He was released the next day unharmed.

In May 2004, armed men attempted to bundle New York Times reporter James Bennet into a car while he stood outside a hospital in Gaza during an escalation in the fighting. He resisted his attackers and avoided capture.

OCTOBER 12, 2005

Posted October 18, 2005

Dion Nissenbaum, Knight Ridder
Adam Pletts, Knight Ridder


Nissenbaum, a U.S. reporter for the Knight Ridder newspaper chain, and Pletts, a British freelance photographer working for the news organization, were held for several hours and released unharmed in the Gaza Strip. The abductions were part of an alarming spate of kidnappings of foreign journalists in Gaza, CPJ research shows.

“A car followed our vehicle for three or four minutes and then stopped us. Six gunmen pointed their weapons and said ‘We want the foreigners,’ ” Ziad Abu Mustafa, a Palestinian interpreter who was with the journalists, told Reuters. He said the captors ordered him to stay behind as they drove off with the two journalists, heading toward the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

Palestinian security officials said the men were kidnapped by renegade members of the ruling Fatah party, CPJ sources said. They said Fatah officials and Palestinian security officers negotiated their release.<