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Previously Unknown Palestinian Group Says It Kidnapped Egyptian Diplomat

A previously unknown Palestinian group has claimed responsibility for the abduction of an Egyptian diplomat in the Gaza Strip Thursday.

News agencies say they received a statement Friday from a group calling itself the Al Ahrar Brigades.

The group demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Egypt within 48 hours.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified.

Palestinian officials say diplomat Hussam al-Musli was going to the Egyptian diplomatic offices in Gaza City Thursday when masked gunmen surrounded his car and abducted him.

The Gaza Strip has seen a rash of kidnappings by Palestinian gunmen since Israel's pullout in September.

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