GAZA (Ma’an) -- Unidentified gunmen briefly kidnapped National Work Committee in Gaza secretary and Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) politburo member Mahmoud al-Zaq in the besieged Palestinian enclave on Wednesday, a relative told Ma’an.
Al-Zaq’s brother Ziyad al-Zaq told Ma’an that unidentified men kidnapped al-Zaq at gunpoint in the Shujaaiya neighborhood of Gaza City.
Al-Zaq was released several hours later, and the political figure told Ma’an that he was assaulted and threatened should he speak of politics again.
In June, the Al-Mezan Center For Human Rights reported that al-Zaq had received a threatening phone call telling him that he would incur harm should he speak up about political issues in Gaza.
PPSF Secretary-General Ahmad Majdalani held the Hamas movement and its security forces responsible for the kidnapping, adding that such an act could only be carried out by “gangs” intent on terrorizing the population.
Majdalani said that the kidnapping was an attack freedom of political speech in the blockaded coastal territory.
The Gaza Strip has been the site of serious internal Palestinian political tensions since since Hamas won a majority of votes in a 2006 legislative election in the besieged coastal enclave, which led into a violent conflict between the movement and rival party Fatah as they both attempted to consolidate control over the small Palestinian territory.
Despite numerous attempts at reconciling Fatah and Hamas, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.