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Breaking: New Palestinian Group Claims to Have Fox News Crew

***Updated - Scroll for Updates - US government responds***

From the AP:

A previously unheard of Palestinian group, the Holy Jihad Brigades, claimed responsibility on Wednesday for kidnapping a Fox News cameraman and correspondent, Al-Jazeera satellite TV reported.


American correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, and cameraman Olahttp://wizbangblog.com/mt-static/images/formatting-icons/bold.gif
Boldf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand were kidnapped Aug. 14 from their TV van near the Palestinian security services headquarters in Gaza City. Although Palestinian militant groups have often seized foreigners, including members of the media, this is the longest any have been held.

No word yet on Centanni's and Wiig's condition.

Reuters has more:

A previously unknown militant group in Gaza claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the kidnapping nine days ago of two Fox journalists and demanded the United States release "Muslim prisoners" within 72 hours.


"Release what you have, and we will release what we have," the "Holy Jihad Brigades" said in a statement obtained by Reuters.

Fox News Channel correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig were abducted by masked gunmen in Gaza City on Aug 14 as they were working on a story.

The group did not say what would happen to the two journalists if the United States did not meet their demand to release Muslims in American prisons by the time the deadline expires on Saturday.

"If you implement our conditions we will implement our promise, otherwise you will have to wait," the statement said.

Update: According to Fox News Centanni and Wiig are shown on a 90 second video. The video was released to al Jazeera, of course.

Update II: Mary Katharine has transcribed part of the video transcript which was read by Jennifer Griffin:

Centanni: "We've been captured in Gaza and been held prisoner here and we are in good condition and live as well and in good health. We have water and food and everyday access to the bathroom.We have clean clothes. Our captors are treating us well and so just letting you know that I'm here and I'm alive and I give my love to my family and friends and ask you to do anything you can to help us get out of here."

I just saw the video on Fox. Olaf told his family not to worry, that he "will do all the worrying" for them.

Update III: Jennifer Griffin says that the leaflet issued by the group says that it condemns the "occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan."

Update IV: Greg Tinti at The Political Pit Bull has the video of Centanni and Wiig.

Update V: The US responds to the terrorists' demands:

The United States government on Wednesday called for the immediate release of two Fox journalists being held by a militant group in Gaza, but added that the U.S. would not make any concessions in return.


"We hope the kidnappers will release Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig at the earliest opportunity. It is the position of the U.S. government that we do not make concessions to terrorists," Micaela Schweitzer-Bluhm, spokeswoman for the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, said.

Update VI: Ms. Underestimated has the text of the letter from the terrorists. Here's a portion:

"This is a statement directed to the infidels in general, without discrimination of their georgraphical location. This is an invitation to enter into the religion of God before a day comes when being an infidel will not do you any good. The victory of God's soldiers can only be achieved by God's help. Nobody can frighten us about our enemy and what it possesses. In the name of God and taught Adam the names. If they throw us in fire it would be cool and safe on us. And if they throw us in water then the whale would pick us up and take us to land. If they want to cut us up, God will save us by sending a sacrifice and deliver us to safety.


No nation can be defeated without the will of God. Quoting Mohammed: 'Do not be sad for God is with us.'

Therefore lords of infidelity and masters of darkness and injustice believe in God and you will be safe or else wait for your turn because we come to slaughter. And every soul will reap what it has done.

[snip]

Release our prisoners and we will do the same. This applies to all without exception. And every Muslim is more cherished and more generous that a 1,000 Bushes. But this is a tradeoff of equals.

We will grant you 72 hours, that starts as of noon today during which you can look into this and if you carry out our condition we will carry out our promise, or else wait and we will wait with you and it will be in God's hands. And God's order is higher than any other and most people do not know. 'Those who have been injust will find out the consequences.'

The time you have starts as of noon Wednesday the 29th of Rajab (the Islamic month) of the year 1447 (Muslim year) which is the 23rd of August 2006.

Rusty Shackleford thinks there could be an al Qaeda connection somewhere.

Others blogging:

It Shines for All
Ace of Spades
Mary Katharine
The Political Pit Bull - Video
Hot Air - Video
Sister Toldjah
Hyscience


Comments (31)

I new player would be distu... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

I new player would be disturbing. Could it be a heavier hand of Iran or Hezbullah in Palestine?

Although I have to admit with it being targetted against a FNC reporter and directed against the US, I would suspect a possible US tie. It's hard to know if the choice of news service mattered to these folks, but if it did, I believe internationally CNN would be perceived as the bigger fish. Its only in the US that FNC is widely watched and as widely reviled to match.

Congratulations to Wizbang ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Congratulations to Wizbang for helping to break the news blackout, that Fox had requested, with your post yesterday passing on Malkin the Mutt's blogblast of publicity on this topic. I suspect it played a part in escalating the situation.

Nice to see that irresponsible journalism is still alive and well in the right-wing blogosphere, especially fitting when the lives of Faux News staffers are in the balance.

I wish no harm to Centanni and Wiig, but as the saying goes -- live by the sword...

Hmmmm.1. I serious... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

1. I seriously doubt either Fatah or Hamas would put up with Hezbollah starting up operations in Gaza or West Bank. There isn't enough room for the two groups already there, let alone Hezbollah.

2. Hezbollah is a terrorist arm of Shia controlled Persian Iran. Palestianian areas are controlled by Sunni Arabs. In very general terms Sunnis oppose Shia, and Arabs oppose Persians. So it's a little doubtful.

3. This "new" group is probably a cover name of convenience for either Fatah or Hamas. Or perhaps it's a bunch of local yokels looking to score a few bucks since the normal cash pipeline is all mucked up.

4. I'm rather astonished at how little exposure this story has gotten in rest of the press world. I really wonder how the folks at FoxNews think about this. Not their public views, which are often seld-censored, but their real private views.

They must be rather pissed off.

jpm100:<blockq... (Below threshold)
langtry:

jpm100:

Although I have to admit with it being targetted against a FNC reporter and directed against the US, I would suspect a possible US tie. It's hard to know if the choice of news service mattered to these folks, but if it did, I believe internationally CNN would be perceived as the bigger fish. Its only in the US that FNC is widely watched and as widely reviled to match.
That's a very interesting point -- and not entirely "far-out" considering the degree of sympathy towards Palestinians and the openness of pro-Palestinian groups about charity, fundraising, etc., especially in academe.

I get so angry when I think about these two men and what they must be going through. I hoep our intelligence and military community, both here and in Gaza, etc., are being very aggressive in their pursuit of information on Centanni and Wiig.

Get them back, get the Israeli soldiers back, give the women and children warning to leave, and then drop a MOAB on a town or village in Gaza. I'm sick of these monsters!

"I wish no harm to... (Below threshold)
langtry:
"I wish no harm to Centanni and Wiig, but as the saying goes -- live by the sword..."

How exactly, Lee, does a journalist "live by the sword"? Are not journalists friends, or at least potential friend, to the Palestinians, the Iraqis, etc.? I somehow suspect that the tenor of your comment has more to do with the affiliation of these two journalists (Fox News) than with any real belief that journalists act more as Foe than Friend to those on whose situation they report.

All the more reason to continue to view your typically disparaging comments with disdain.

Such a lovely people. Lets ... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Such a lovely people. Lets give them a state.

"Are not journalists fri... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Are not journalists friends, or at least potential friend, to the Palestinians, the Iraqis, etc.?"

Has Faux News practiced fair and balanced journalism?

Lee by your logic the US an... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Lee by your logic the US and Israel ought to start targeting left wing propagandists such as the BBC and the NYT.

Has Faux News prac... (Below threshold)
langtry:
Has Faux News practiced fair and balanced journalism?
No news organization is without bias, Lee. Why single out Fox? Because it'd contrary to yours (therefore, "faux")?

In case it escaped you, Lee, we're talking about two human beings here. So entrenched is your anti-Bush psychosis (and having studied the DSM-IV, I've a fairly good handle on the defining characterists of psychosis/psychotics) that you no longer possess any rational sense through which to view much of what is going on in the world.

At the risk of being banned, Lee, you, and your bizarre worldview, are worthless. You disgust me.


3. This "new" group is p... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

3. This "new" group is probably a cover name of convenience for either Fatah or Hamas. Or perhaps it's a bunch of local yokels looking to score a few bucks since the normal cash pipeline is all mucked up.

With the condemnation of US occupation in Iraq and Afgahnistan, that leave open the possibility of AQ in Palestine or Iran (via a proxy group).

I guess, after much conside... (Below threshold)

I guess, after much consideration, what passes as the terrorist coordination committee of the Phillistine territories has decided that each terroris may carry FOUR dues-cards rather than the previous THREE. Given their lack of originality in creating names, it's now possible to be a member of Fatah, PFLP, PFL, and now the "Holy Jihad Brigades."

I guess it took the printers a while to get the new dues-cards printed up.

"Lee by your logic the U... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Lee by your logic the US and Israel ought to start targeting left wing propagandists such as the BBC and the NYT."

It is just a tad bit ironic that when the US government asks the NYTs to not publicize facts, the right-wing blogosphere rebels when the Times does it anyway. Faux News asks journalists to not publicize the hostage situation for the sake of the safety and security of the hostages, and the right wing blogosphere ignores it and publicizes the facts anyway. Heh.

When news organization such as NYTs and Faux News bend or bias their coverage they become party to the dispute, rather than impartial reporters, hence my "live by the sword" comment.

Fox News is as guilty of bias as al Jazeera, and as such I'm not suprised if Fox News correspondents become a party to the conflicts they cover, the same way al Jazerra's building was bombed by the US military in reponsse to their coverage of the Iraq war.

"In case it escaped you, Lee, we're talking about two human beings here."

In forming your ad hominem attack against me, merely because our views aren't in sync, you've ignored the fact that I stated I wished no harm to come to Centanni and Wiig. Why don't you stuff your DSM-IV up where the sun don't shine, langtry, and maybe you'll be able to read things more more clearly.

Posted by: ed at August 23,... (Below threshold)
yo:

Posted by: ed at August 23, 2006 10:13 AM

Ed, I tend to side on the concept of this being an independent (possibly AQ supported) group. Whereas the disputed terroritories aren't big enough for both Hamas and Fatah, and (you're right) there's no way a Shi'a group gains physical influence in the region, AQ is Sunni and more than happy to franchise.

Based on the generalization of the demands, and the seemingly immature tact displayed in the announcement, I don't see this Jihad Brigade as being much more than a group of street thugs who done got lucky.

As for the news blackout, I'm torn. I'd enjoy seeing a complete news frenzy over this issue (and other kidnappings) to expose the infantile mentality of islamic facist-types; but, I also shudder at the thought of these a**holes getting time in the world media.

To that end, I say that the only thing which is "free" about "free press" in the modern media is the price of advertising rates afforded to terrorists.

People who talk about Faux ... (Below threshold)

People who talk about Faux News and how biased it is never *watch* Fox News. They saw O'Reiley once and consider themselves informed.

Makes a person wonder how well informed they are on anything else. Hm?

My sister did the same thing, well educated liberal... she teaches science at a University, she's active in groups pushing for labor reform in that area, she's even been a lobbyist in the past. Rolls her eyes, "Oh, Fox news... yeah, right." "Have you watched Fox news?" ...silence...

*I* can't stand to watch O'Reiley.

It is a handy way of disqualifying someone elses opinion though... don't agree with me? Well, that's because you get your information from Faux News. (And isn't the Faux/Fox thing so *very* clever.)

I do wonder, though... how does Malkin get to be a "mutt"? Is this yet *again* an example of a "liberal" feeling that racism is only unacceptable when someone else does it? (The *intention* of racism, as any right-winger knows, is entirely irrelevant. Only perception matters. But hey, the *liberals* made the racism rules. Or did they just make them for other people and not themselves?)

The UN is ultimately respon... (Below threshold)

The UN is ultimately responsible for this insane situation. By not lifting a finger to curb Hezbollah and Hamas, they are allowing "fringe" terrorist groups to carry out "copy cat" actions. What is more disturbing are the comments by some that because they are FOX journalists that the situation is not as bad.
Shame on those who ignore these atrocities.

And Lee compares the bias o... (Below threshold)

And Lee compares the bias of Fox news to Jazerra.

I bet he's never watched or read anything from *that* news source either.

And then he repeats absolute lies about the US deliberately targeting militarily *any* news source as a direct retaliation for the way they do their reporting.

Going for the old "we do it, so can they" moral argument to support his morally reprehensible insistance that, while it makes him very sad the reporters probably asked for it.

I wish no harm to ... (Below threshold)
langtry:
I wish no harm to Centanni and Wiig, but as the saying goes -- live by the sword...
Your so-called lack of intent to see Centanni & Wiig harmed is entirely facetious, Lee. You care not a fig for how this sorts out: your flippant "but as the saying goes..." makes it clear you regard them as less than worthy of your concern. You can't have it both ways, as the second part of your sentence negated the first. Don't even try to justify it.

I'll admit to making distinctions between what I consider human and inhuman behavior. The Palestinian leadership, Hizbollah, "The Holy Jihad Brigades" (awfully close to the moniker of the Al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, it is worth noting). Targeting women and children for murder while they wait at bus stops is inhuman behavior, and I think the world would be better of without those who advocate, finance and perpetuate such unjustifiable acts. Whether you agree with me or not, there's logic there, not a disagreement or lack of synchronicity with your opinions. Your comments are logical only in their predicatbility, Lee.

Were your opinions based in the same passive-aggressive hostililty when Jill Carroll (of the left-liberal Christian Science Monitor) was kidnapped? I'd be willing to bet they weren't. You are taking distinct pleasure in the fact that this has happened to a Fox News reporter, and that's really, certifiably sick.

In my view Malkin is ugly i... (Below threshold)
Lee:

In my view Malkin is ugly inside and out, but her vitriol earns her the "mutt" moniker.

I watch less Fox than CNN, but I see enough of Fox and read enough about their coverage here and elsewhere to know just how bad they are. In fact, I suspect I spend more time watching Fox than the Foxheads around here spend watching CNN, Synova. As to the "Faux News" joke - that isn't mine, but it is really appropriate. They make no bones of the fact that they spin the facts, and in that instance they are more honest about their propagandizing than other news organizations. Fox News isn't "News" - it's spin - so Faux News is more fitting.

The documentary "Outfoxed" does an excellent job of showing just how bad Faux News really is. If you haven't seen the documentary it is highly recommended.

www.outfoxed.org/

Repeating, despite Fox News' shortcomings I wish no ill of Centanni and Wiig (that's in case you haven't found the vaseline yet, langtry...).

So Lee, journalists are com... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

So Lee, journalists are combatants? So the Israeeli's are within thier right to capture say, CNN journalists?
And if you mean fair and balanced like Pallywood, or the lady who had two different houses miles apart blown up, or the clean children's toys placed on debris after the fact, or the ambulances staged for the press by Hezbolloh, then your right. When I want to see that I read Reuters, or watch CBS.

Lee,It is obvious yo... (Below threshold)

Lee,
It is obvious you are an apologist for these criminals and therefore just as bad as them.
FOX is not a combatant in the Middle East. But it seems your anti-FOX sentiments are turning you into a supporter of terrorism.
It's called "cutting your nose off despite your face".
Grow up.

Why don't you stuf... (Below threshold)
langtry:
Why don't you stuff your DSM-IV up where the sun don't shine, langtry, and maybe you'll be able to read things more more clearly. - - - (T)hat's in case you haven't found the vaseline yet, langtry(.)

You're a real Pig, Lee.

How many posts were made he... (Below threshold)
Lee:

How many posts were made here at Wizbang during ABC Journalist Jill Carroll's 82 days of being held hostage in Iraq?

According to a search on Jill Carroll I did with the search engine in the left side bar the answer is ZERO, with several posts made only after she was released.... but when staff members of the right-wing propaganda machine Faux News are held hostage the RW Blogosphere wrings its hands in dismay...

When did you folks stop being Americans and pledge loyalty to the Republican flag instead?

You've only proven our poin... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

You've only proven our point Lee. Wizbang didn't need to cover Jill Carroll because she was already covered enough in the Mainstream Media.

We're talking about using blogs to substitute for the lack of MSM coverage.

Lee, Your clutching ... (Below threshold)

Lee,
Your clutching at straws to save your own immoral behavior. Quit while your ahead and apologize to everyone now. Maybe when you wake up to tomorrow you might be able to forgive yourself.
We are talking about human beings, not your petty political motives.

Ooooooooo! A new terror gr... (Below threshold)
sanssoucy:

Ooooooooo! A new terror group! What does this one call itself? Durka-Durka-Jihad-Durka?

SS

Lee,Jill Carroll w... (Below threshold)
yo:

Lee,

Jill Carroll works for the Christian Science Monitor.

Not ABC.

I'd highly recommend that if you're entering data into a debate, the data be accurate.

Yo - thanks -- I stand corr... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Yo - thanks -- I stand corrected.

“This is a statement direct... (Below threshold)
John F Not Kerry:

“This is a statement directed to the infidels in general"

Boy, that would really make me want to convert to their branch of Islam, the religion of peace!

Just be careful and very sk... (Below threshold)
Joe:

Just be careful and very skeptic on what these TERRORISTS say on the media. Don't fall to their DECEPTION. Learn more about their tactics in http://www.technonllc.com/blog

Hmmmm.@ Lee<... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Lee

It is just a tad bit ironic that when the US government asks the NYTs to not publicize facts, the right-wing blogosphere rebels when the Times does it anyway.

The irony Lee is that the government didn't want classified materials to be made public.

Rather different from say the very public kidnapping of two FoxNews contributors.

<a href="http://www.... (Below threshold)



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