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Archive for Thursday, October 12, 2006

U.S. student freed after kidnapping

October 12, 2006

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— An American student teaching in West Bank refugee camps was freed late Wednesday after being held for a day by Palestinians. He appeared to be unharmed.

Michael Leighton Phillips was brought to security headquarters in Nablus, where he was joined by a former mayor, Ghassan Shakaa, and a security chief, both members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.

Earlier on Wednesday, a blurred photocopy of a passport and student card carrying Phillips' name was sent to a foreign news agency by a group calling itself Ansar al-Sunna. Palestinian security said they did not know of such a group and could not confirm that the American had been abducted. Groups by that name operate in Iraq and Lebanon.

Phillips, 24, worked with the relief group Project Hope. The group describes itself as a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides educational and recreational activities, medical and humanitarian relief and practical training.

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