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3 more peacekeepers briefly abducted in Golan Heights

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Attackers briefly abducted three more UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, heightening tensions in the ceasefire zone feeling increasing fallout from Syria's civil war, a UN official said Thursday.

At least one of the three officers from the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) seized at an observation post in the early hours of Wednesday was from New Zealand, according to New Zealand media.

The attackers released the three after about four hours following an intervention by a senior peacekeeping officer in the ceasefire zone between Syria and Israel, said the UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

It was the third abduction of UN forces in the Golan zone in two months.

Twenty-one Filipino peacekeepers were abducted by Syrian rebels for five days in March. Four more were seized by the same group this month.

The Filipinos were from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) which has monitored a ceasefire between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights since 1974.

UNTSO has about 170 unarmed observers based across the Middle East and one contingent helps UNDOF.

tw/rcw

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130516/3-peacekeepers-briefly-abducted-golan-heights