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Spanish Photographer Released in Gaza After Brief Kidnapping

A Spanish photographer kidnapped by Palestinian gunmen in Gaza has been released unharmed after half a day in captivity.

Emilio Morenatti, who works for the Associated Press, was brought to the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza City late Tuesday.

Four gunmen had abducted the Spaniard Tuesday morning as he left an apartment building in Gaza City.

Morenatti says he is happy to be free after enduring what he described as very anguished moments. He says he was blindfolded for much of the time and was moved between several buildings. During one of the transfers, he was dressed as a woman before being put in a car.

No one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but Palestinian officials blame criminal elements. The Palestinian prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, says the identity of the kidnappers is known, and they will be punished.

Associated Press chief executive Tom Curley thanked Palestinian and Spanish officials for helping to secure Morenatti's release. Curley says it is crucial for journalists to be able to freely report the news in areas of conflict.

Several foreign journalists and aid workers have been kidnapped in Gaza in recent months. Palestinian militants have released all of the foreign hostages unharmed, usually within hours or days.

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