- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Four U.N. peacekeepers were seized by armed gunmen on Tuesday while they were patrolling in the demilitarized zone separating Syria from the Israeli-occupied sections of Golan Heights.

The BBC reported the peacekeepers were Filipino.

Syrian rebels, the Martiyrs of Yarmouk, claimed responsibility for the abduction by publishing a photograph of the four men. The group said the peacekeepers were being held for their own safety, BBC said. There have been violent clashes in the region, including heavy shelling, BBC said.

A U.N. spokesman said a mission was “under way to secure their release now,” BBC reported.

Just weeks ago, the same group had abducted 21 U.N. observers in the Philippines. Members released them unharmed within days, BBC reported.

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