- Title: WEST BANK: German national released after abduction in West Bank.
- Date: 3rd February 2006
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AHMED ABU-SALTAH, A LEADER OF THE AL-AQSA MARTYRS BRIGADES IN NABLUS SAYING: "We at the al-Aqsa martyrs brigades in Palestine condemn this irresponsible act, which is excluded from our Palestinian tradition and culture and we ask to punish those who were involved. No matter who they are we will track them down."
- Embargoed: 18th February 2006 12:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVADY9HY4490YJ4JLBUHCPT030VW
- Story Text: A German was briefly held by Palestinian gunmen in the occupied West Bank on Thursday (February 2, 2006) after militants threatened Europeans over newspaper caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.
"Yes, I am OK," Christoph Kasten, a 21-year-old German national who teaches English in the West Bank city of Nablus, told reporters in the offices of the Palestinian Preventive Security agency.
Kasten told reporters that Palestinian gunmen asked him to go with them but made no demands. After a while, they put him in a taxi that took him to the local police station.
Kasten was kidnapped from a hotel coffee shop, where he had been sitting with two Palestinian colleagues.
Earlier, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed faction in President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, threatened in a news conference to kidnap citizens of France, Denmark and Norway if they did not leave Nablus within 72 hours.
Ahmed abu-Saltah, a leader at the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus told reporters that the group helped the security forces in tracing and releasing Kasten.
"We at the al-Aqsa martyrs brigades in Palestine condemn this irresponsible act that is outside our Palestinian tradition and culture and we ask to punish those who were involved, no matter who they are and we will track them down," he added.
Palestinian security officials said gunmen from another armed group in Fatah seized Kasten in protest at the cartoons, which were published in a Danish newspaper in September and republished in Norway last month.
Newspapers in France, Germany and Spain have also reprinted the caricatures. Islamic tradition prohibits realistic depictions of prophets, and considers caricatures of them blasphemous.
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