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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, 15:42 GMT 16:42 UK
Abducted foreigners freed in Gaza
March in Bureij camp
Bureij camp is a stronghold of armed Palestinian militants
Two engineers, one British and one Austrian, have been released in the Gaza Strip several hours after being abducted, Palestinian officials said.

They were driven to safety in Gaza after being freed, officials said.

The men were seized in the Bureij refugee camp, a stronghold of militants who are vying for power with the elected Palestinian Authority.

Reports say the abduction was staged by a local family trying to get their relatives released from prison.

A Palestinian interior ministry spokesman earlier denied the kidnapping had anything to do with politics, calling it a "family dispute".

Last year, a group of French aid workers were detained in Gaza in apparently similar circumstances. They were freed quite quickly unharmed.

But BBC correspondent Alan Johnston says the abduction is just one more manifestation of the lack of law and order in Gaza.

The Palestinian leadership lacks authority, while numerous political factions and powerful clans are well armed.




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