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British Hostages Freed in Gaza, Travel to Israel


Three British hostages kidnapped by gunmen in the southern Gaza Strip have been released and are with officials at the British consulate in Jerusalem.

The British Foreign Office said 25-year old British aid worker Kate Burton and her parents were "well and in good spirits" after their release Friday.

The three had been seized in the town of Rafah after crossing into Gaza from Egypt on Wednesday.

A senior Palestinian official welcomed the hostages' release, and urged Palestinians to end the kidnapping of foreigners, saying it harms and destroys Palestinian interests.

A previously unknown group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. In a statement, the group Mujahadeen Brigades Jerusalem Branch said it agreed to release the hostages as a "goodwill gesture." The kidnappers said, however, they wanted British and European officials to pressure Israel to end the "no-go" zone it has imposed in northern Gaza to prevent rocket attacks on Israeli territory.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, and Reuters.
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