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Palestinian gunmen abduct, beat reporter for Iranian news site in West Bank

Samer Khuaira, who works for Tasnim news agency, briefly held after reporting on violent dispersal of Islamist student protest, told his coverage harms Palestinian Authority

Illustrative: Palestinian Authority security forces in balaclavas stand by an armored vehicle at the entrance to Balata camp, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 15, 2020.  (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)
Illustrative: Palestinian Authority security forces in balaclavas stand by an armored vehicle at the entrance to Balata camp, near the West Bank city of Nablus, on December 15, 2020. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP)

A Palestinian reporter working for an Iranian news agency was briefly abducted, beaten and threatened by Palestinian gunmen after covering the violent dispersal of an Islamist student demonstration in the West Bank earlier this week.

The Tasnim news agency says the men forced Samer Khuaira into a car at gunpoint on Tuesday, beat him and threatened him. The men said his coverage harmed the Palestinian Authority and the secular Fatah movement that dominates it, Tasnim said. He was released around a half-hour later.

Khuaira identified one of his abductors as a member of Palestinian security forces, Tasnim reported Thursday. The Palestinian Journalists Union condemned the attack on their colleague.

There was no comment from Palestinian officials.

Security guards at al-Najah University in Nablus had violently dispersed the Islamist students earlier on Tuesday. Videos circulated online showed the guards beating students and what appeared to be plainclothes security forces firing into the air near the university.

Fatah dominates security agencies that operate in the parts of the West Bank where the PA has limited autonomy.

Both the Fatah-led PA and its main rival, the Islamic terror group Hamas that rules Gaza, routinely crack down on political opponents in the areas they control. Iran supports Hamas and other Islamic terror groups.

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