Incident Summary:

07/30/2004: Five Palestinian gunmen, suspected to be part of a splinter group of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, abducted three foreign church volunteers from the United States, Britain, and Ireland. The gunmen released the hostages on July 31, 2004, under pressure from Palestinian authorities, just a few hours after being abducted.



West Bank and Gaza Strip

Middle East & North Africa

region/u.s. state:

West Bank


Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Hostage Taking (Kidnapping)
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity Christian Missionaries
Specific Description Christian Missionary in Nablus
Nationality of Target United States
Target Type: Religious Figures/Institutions
Name of Entity Christian Missionaries
Specific Description Christian Missionaries in Nablus
Nationality of Target Great Britain
Additional Information
Hostages Yes
Number of Hostages 3
US Hostages 1
Outcome Hostage(s) released by perpetrators
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
Reports stated that the five kidnappers were armed with guns but no other detail was given about the guns.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information The five gunmen stopped the group of Christian Missionaries close to midnight on July 30, 2004. The gunmen seized the three men in the group, an American, a Briton and an Irishman, but did not take the five women in the group. The three men were released within a few hours of the kidnapping, on July 31, 2004.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 5
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Ali Daraghmeh, “3 Church volunteers abducted, freed by Palestinian gunmen,” Chicago Sun-Times, July 31, 2004.
Arthur Max, “Palestinian gunmen abduct and quickly release three foreign church volunteers in Nablus,” Associated Press Worldstream, July 30, 2004.
“Palestinian gunmen free three foreign hostages,” Xinhua General News Service, July 31, 2004.