South Korea seeks freedom of reporter kidnapped by Palestinian militant group

South Korea said Wednesday it is working to secure the release of a South Korean journalist kidnapped by a Palestinian militant group, and has asked for help from both Israeli and Palestinian authorities.

"We are making utmost efforts to win an early release and return of the correspondent by mobilizing all resources available," said Lee Joon-gyu, director general of Foreign Ministry's Overseas Koreans and Consulate Affairs department.

The journalist, identified as Yong Tae-young of KBS, the leading South Korean state TV broadcaster, was abducted from his hotel in Gaza by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on Tuesday. He is being held along with two French citizens.

Lee said Yong called the South Korean Embassy in Israel and told them he was safe, but didn't elaborate on the demands of the militant group, whose leader is wanted in connection with the assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister.

The ministry said it will send a team of officials to the area to help win Yong's release.

South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon, who is traveling in Argentina, spoke by telephone early Wednesday with his Palestinian counterpart and received promises authorities would press for the journalist's release, the ministry said.

Palestinian authorities are negotiating with the militant group, said Ma Young-sam, an official at the embassy, according to Yonhap news agency.

The incident came as Israeli troops pounded a Palestinian-run prison in the West Bank on Tuesday to seize a Palestinian militant leader and his accomplices wanted over the assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister, reports the AP.


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