Palestinian gunmen released five French (search) citizens late Friday in the Gaza Strip (search) after kidnapping them while they drank coffee in the southern town of Khan Younis (search), a Palestinian official said.

At the same time, Palestinian officials said two senior security officials in the West Bank and Gaza resigned, saying the security situation in the Gaza Strip had spiraled out of control.

The French hostages — three men and two women — were held for three hours in a Khan Younis building housing the offices of the Red Crescent Society.

Witnesses saw the two women leaving the Red Crescent offices escorted by Palestinian security officials.

It was the third kidnapping in Gaza in less than 10 hours.