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Palestinian Militants Briefly Kidnap French Hostages


Palestinian militants in the West Bank town of Nablus have released three French hostages they seized earlier Tuesday.

Militants from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades released the three, identified in news reports as a French diplomat and two bodyguards.

A spokesman for the Martyrs Brigades, which is linked to the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, says the group at first suspected the men were Israeli undercover agents.

In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, masked gunmen entered an empty resort Tuesday and blew up several rooms.

The resort's manager said the gunmen claimed to be from al-Qaida and threatened to bomb assets of Mohammed Dahlan, a key aide to Mr. Abbas. Dahlan denies he owns the resort.

The Gaza attack comes as rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah are to resume talks on a unity government.

Israeli officials have warned that al-Qaida is trying to infiltrate the Palestinian territories. But Palestinian security officials say there is no evidence al-Qaida is operating in Gaza.

In other news, Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip are on strike Tuesday, protesting the bombing on Monday of an office of the Arab television station al-Arabiya.

The office was empty when the bomb went off and there were no injuries.

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

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