Da Arab News del 28/08/2006
Originale su http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=77056&d=...

Militants Free Fox News Journalists

di Hisham Abu Taha

GAZA CITY, 28 August 2006 — Militants yesterday freed two kidnapped Fox News Channel journalists. Correspondent Steve Centanni, a 60-year-old American, and New Zealand-born cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, looked happy but tired after two weeks of captivity in the Gaza Strip. A previously unknown group called the Holy Jihad Brigades had made a sweeping demand for the United States to free Muslim prisoners in exchange for the release of the men.

“I am really fine, healthy, in good shape and so happy to be free,” Centanni told the Fox Channel. He said he and Wiig had been forced at gunpoint to say they were converting to Islam.

The men had an emotional reunion with colleagues inside a Gaza hotel, where they later met Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

At a news conference later, both men said they hoped their kidnapping would not scare the foreign media away from Gaza. “That would be a great tragedy for the people of Palestine, and especially for the people of Gaza,” said Wiig.

The two journalists later crossed into Israel at the Erez border crossing. They were seized Aug. 14 while working on a story in Gaza City. Theirs was one of the longest abductions of foreigners in Gaza in years.

Haniyeh said the kidnappers had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda or any known Palestinian groups. Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups had condemned the abduction.

Videos of the captives released by the militants bore all the hallmarks of hostage tapes shot by insurgents in Iraq. “These are young men who carried out the action out of private beliefs,” Haniyeh told reporters. Officials said no arrests had been made. Palestinian officials from Hamas had previously suggested they were in contact with the kidnappers via third parties in Gaza.

Meanwhile, two members of Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, were killed and five civilians including two journalists injured early yesterday morning during an Israeli raid on Gaza City. Witnesses said an Israeli drone fired one missile at a group of Palestinians in eastern Al-Shijaiaya neighborhood of the city, killing a Brigades fighter and injuring five others. Medics said a woman and her child were among the injured.

During the raid another member of the Brigades was killed at another site. Sources at Al-Shifa Hospital identified the dead as Waled Al-Harazin, 24, and Targiq Hilis, 21.

Another Israeli missile targeted an armored car belonging to the Reuters news agency, wounding five people, including two cameramen, Palestinian witnesses and hospital officials said. The Israeli Army said that in the darkness, no press markings were seen on the vehicle. The army said the car was moving in a suspicious manner near Israeli troops inside a combat zone.

In the West Bank, the Israeli Army seized a Hamas lawmaker at his home, the latest in a string of officials from the ruling movement to be detained by the Jewish state. Some 20 army jeeps surrounded Mahmoud Mesleh’s house in the village of Bireh near Ramallah and took him away, they said. The Israeli Army confirmed the detention.

Earlier yesterday, an Israeli military tribunal ordered the detained Hamas secretary of the Palestinian Parliament, Mahmoud Al-Ramhi, to be held for a further two weeks, his lawyers said.

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