Gunmen kidnap CNN producer in Gaza Strip ambush

A producer for the American television network CNN was kidnapped last night in Gaza by armed men who stopped his car, but left his two Western colleagues unharmed.

Palestinian Authority officials were said to be trying to contact the kidnappers to persuade them to free the Arab-Israeli, Riad Abu Ali. A CNN correspondent who had been travelling with Mr Abu Ali, Ben Weedeman, told viewers in a live broadcast: "These men were not very communicative. They asked which of us was Riad and that was it."

Despite continued violence in Gaza, journalists have normally been free to work without harassment, and kidnappings of media employees are highly unusual in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Hours earlier, a Palestinian militant was killed in the southern Gaza Strip in an Israeli air strike, bringing to seven the number of Palestinians killed in the territories during the day.

A helicopter-fired missile hit a vehicle in the town of Khan Yunis, where Israeli forces have been hunting militants and destroying houses. The missile killed a militant named as Ali al-Shaer, 26, and wounded three other people, Palestinians said.

Israeli soldiers who fired machineguns into Gaza's Yunis refugee camp killed a 55-year-old civilian as he stood at the gate of a school, Palestinian security officials said.

Police in Israel have also arrested a settler from Elon Moreh after a Palestinian taxi-driver in his forties was shot dead in the northern West Bank. The settler claimed the Palestinian had tried to run him off the road. But Palestinian hospital officials said the taxi-driver, in his 40s, was shot by a group of settlers as he took passengers to a Palestinian town.

In the same area, Israeli troops killed two Palestinians they said had tried to place an explosive on the Gaza Strip border fence. Also in Gaza yesterday, the Israelis killed two Palestinians in Balata refugee camp, near Nablus. The army said they were wanted Fatah militants and had weapons. Palestinians said they had been throwing stones at troops.

Israeli troops also raided Jenin, in the West Bank, and a refugee camp, amid exchanges of fire. They also searched a hospital but no arrests or casualties were reported.

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