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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 December 2005, 13:13 GMT
Kidnapped Briton to stay in Gaza
Kate Burton at the Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel
The Burtons were taken across the border to Israel and into Jerusalem
A British human rights worker kidnapped in Gaza with her parents intends to stay in the region, despite her ordeal.

In a statement the family of Kate Burton said they were glad the last few days were over and that she and her parents were in good health.

They said Ms Burton, 24, would continue her work with Palestinians, adding the family now wished to be left in peace.

The Burtons, of Newbury, Berkshire, were released unharmed on Friday after being held for two-and-a-half days.

We thank everyone who has worked so tirelessly towards this moment
Burton family

They said they had been treated well by their captors.

They expressed their gratitude to the Palestinian Authority and the British government for working to secure their release.

"Kate Burton plans to stay in the region and continue working with the Palestinian people.

"The incident was just one in the context of severely increasing state of insecurity in the Gaza state and Kate remains committed and passionate about working alongside the Palestinians to...alleviate the difficult conditions being suffered by [them] in the occupied territories," they said.

"After this difficult few days the family strongly requests that they will be left in peace to recover with close friend and relatives."

'Desperate experience'

Their captors, a previously unheard of group called the Mujahadeen Brigades, released a video denouncing the UK and threatening to take more hostages.

Ms Burton and her parents Hugh, 73, and 55-year-old Helen, known as Win, are in Jerusalem with UK consular staff.

Hugh Burton being taken to a diplomatic car after his release
Hugh Burton was kidnapped along with daughter Kate and wife Helen

Ms Burton told BBC correspondent Alan Johnston the family had been moved three times in two days by their captors, who remained masked throughout.

She spoke of her sadness her parents had had such a "desperate experience" during their visit to Gaza, but said she hoped to continue her human rights work there.

Ms Burton, who works for the Palestinian Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, also told the BBC Arabic service she and her parents had been held in Rafah, southern Gaza.

She added she could not say a bad word about her captors, who always asked whether they needed anything.

Earlier the UK Foreign Office, confirmed the three Britons were "well and in good spirits" and were with officials from the consulate general in Jerusalem.

Before the family were released a video was delivered to a TV company in Gaza on Friday apparently made by the Burtons' kidnappers showing a masked gunman reading a statement while standing next to Ms Burton.

Kidnapping threat

BBC correspondent Jo Floto said the statement, roughly translated, said the British government bore responsibility for what had happened to the Palestinians since 1918.

Kate Burton in a video released by the family's captors
Their captors released a video shortly before freeing the family
The previously unknown group made a list of demands and urged Britain to put pressure on Israel.

They said if their demands were not met they would capture international observers in the forthcoming elections.

They said they had freed the three Britons in what they described as a gesture of good faith.

Ms Burton, who speaks Arabic, French and Spanish, is understood to have been showing her parents around Rafah, near the border with Egypt, when they were kidnapped.

UK Muslim groups and the Palestinian Authority had condemned the kidnaps, and Palestinians had demonstrated to vent their anger at the abductions.




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