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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fox reporters released from captivity

After a video was released this morning indicating that they were well and claiming that they had 'voluntarily' converted to Islam, two Fox news reporters were released this morning by their Hamas/Fatah kidnappers. Yes, Hamas/Fatah. Forget about 'unknown organizations':

The two Fox News journalists kidnapped in the Gaza Strip on Aug. 14 were released Sunday afternoon.

Earlier Sunday morning, Palestinian Authority Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hilal, said the two hostages, cameraman Olaf Wiig of New Zealand and correspondent Steve Centanni of the US, would be released "within hours" unharmed.


Also Sunday monring a video was released by the kidnappers showing the two prisoners in good health. During the recording, the journalists claim that they have converted to Islam, a decision that they say was made without any coercion. Sitting on the floor in a traditional Islamic robe, they also condemn Israel for their military operations in the Gaza Strip.

It is the second such video to be released since the ordeal began.

On Saturday, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he had personally received assurances from the kidnappers that the two reporters would be released unharmed and unconditionally.

PA Interior Minister Said Siam, who is in charge of part of the PA security forces, announced on Saturday that significant progress had been achieved in efforts to secure the release of the men.

"There are encouraging indications that the two will be released soon," he said, refusing to elaborate.

Ghazi Hamad, a spokesman for the Hamas-controlled PA government, also said on Saturday that he was "very encouraged" that the two would be released soon. "I believe they will be released soon because of a breakthrough in the negotiations with the kidnappers," he said.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Holy Jihad Brigades claimed responsibility last week for the abduction and issued a three-day ultimatum to the US to release all Muslim prisoners held in America.

However, Hamas officials told The Jerusalem Post that the kidnappers belonged to one of the armed wings of PA President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party. [Is this true, or did they really belong to Hamas, which just wanted to embarass 'moderate' Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen? CiJ]
Give them a state reichlet!

Update 8:17 AM (US Eastern time)

The two Fox reporters have now been released and there are more details on their kidnapping from an interview with them. Note the political correctness regarding the 'religion of peace' terrorism.

The two Fox News journalists kidnapped in the Gaza Strip on Aug. 14 were released Sunday afternoon. They were dropped off at Gaza City's Beach Hotel, dressed in Western-style clothing, and quickly walked through the lobby and rushed upstairs.


Immediately after entering the hotel, a tearful Centanni briefly embraced a Palestinian journalist. Wiig briefly turned and appeared to yell at Palestinian security guards before heading upstairs.

In an interview with Fox News shortly after being released, Centanni discussed the kidnapping and the two weeks that followed.

"We were driving down a narrow side-street in Gaza City, dropping off our security guide, when a car stopped in front of us. Then, before we realized it, the [kidnappers] swarmed our car, yanked us out, stuffed us in a car, and put a black hood on our head," he said.

"I remember thinking, oh god, I'm toast. They could shoot me in head and nobody would hear it," he continued. "But in my good nature I thought that I'm no good to them dead."

Under the fear of death, Centanni was forced to comply with the demands of his captors. "There was a lot of writing," he said, telling of being forced to give written statements of his work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kashmir.

He was also forced to convert to Islam.

"Don't get me wrong, I have the highest respect for Islam. We learned a lot of great things about it," he explained, "but it was something we felt we had to do, because they had the gun."

"There were times that I thought 'I'm dead,' and now…I'm not.


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