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Traded kidnappings occur between Hamas, captors of BBC reporter in Gaza
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18:22, July 02, 2007

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The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Army of Islam, captors of BBC reporter Alan Johnston, began to kidnap the members of each other in the Gaza Strip from late Sunday to early Monday.

The traded kidnappings came after clashes between the two groups in Gaza City on Sunday night.

It is the first kind of violence since Hamas seized control of Gaza Strip last month.

The Army of Islam issued a statement this morning saying that Hamas' Executive Forces abducted Abu Khatab al-Maqdissi, spokesman for Army of Islam.

"He (al-Maqdissi) was kidnapped upon orders by senior Hamas leaders who also ordered to kidnap two field commanders of the Army of Islam's in the past and still holding them," the statement said.

It added that "The abducted faced horrible torture by members of Hamas' military wing who were seeking to know where the infidel crusader Alan Johnston was held."

The Army of Islam granted Hamas a 24-hour term to release al- Maqdissi or it will reveal "the reality of some (Hamas) persons who deceived the nation under the name of Islam."

Meanwhile, the group announced that it has kidnapped 10 Hamas members in response to the kidnapping of al-Maqdissi.

But Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for Hamas, blamed Doghmoush family, sponsor of the Army of Islam, for the kidnappings, saying the abductions came after the family opened fire first at the Executive Force of Hamas.

He also accused Doghmoush family of kidnapping 10 college students "who might be Hamas supporters."

The Army of Islam has been holding the 44-year-old BBC reporter Johnston since his abduction in Gaza on March 12. It demanded the release of senior al-Qaida members from British and Jordanian jails in exchange for Johnston's free.

Source: Xinhua

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