Witnesses say Palestinian gunmen have freed a senior member of the Palestinian security services, hours after abducting him in the Gaza Strip.

Mohammad al-Batrawi, head of the financial surveillance department of the security services, was released unharmed.

No group or party claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. It was not immediately clear what motivated the abduction or whether any demands were made.

Gaza has been gripped by kidnappings and protests since July. Analysts have linked the unrest to a power struggle within the Palestinian Authority over reforms within the Palestinian security services.