Fox has breaking news on the two kidnapped Fox employees Steve Centenni and Olaf Wiig. Apparently there is a video of them being dressed in Islamic style clothing and reading verses from the Koran in Arabic.
Fox news is reporting they don't have the tape, it's on a satellite feed. More when I get it.
News report from the AP:
Palestinian official said Sunday he expects two kidnapped Fox News journalists to be released "within hours."
Interior Ministry spokesman Khaled Abu Hilal added that the two hostages are unharmed.
The kidnappers also released a new video of the hostages.
Abu Hilal said the two hostages, cameraman Olaf Wiig of New Zealand and correspondent Steve Centanni of the U.S., are unharmed.
Abu Hilal said the kidnappers have promised Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siyam of Hamas they would not harm the journalists.
"We hope their release will be within hours," Abu Hilal told The Associated Press.
The kidnappers, meanwhile, released new video of Wiig and Centanni. In one segment, Wiig was seen sitting cross-legged on the floor, dressed in a beige robe and reading from notes.
"It is Apache helicopters firing hellfire missiles made in America that kill the residents in Gaza," he said in a halting voice, his face expressionless.
Since most quarters expect these two to be released today I believe this may be the terrorists twisted way of proving to the world that the US is bad by making an American and his cameraman say it is so. Not that we would think these two hostages are being forced to say this stuff right?
UPDATE II 0955hrs PST
While I was sleeping the terrorists did indeed release these two after forcing them to denounce the west in video:
Two FOX News journalists were released by their kidnappers Sunday, nearly two weeks after they were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip.
Steve Centanni, 60, and Olaf Wiig, 36, left Gaza and have since crossed into Israel after their release. The men left Gaza through the Erez border crossing.
[...]The two journalists were dropped off at Gaza City's Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials and appeared to be in good health. A tearful Centanni embraced a Palestinian journalist briefly as he entered, then rushed upstairs as Wiig followed.
Centanni, in a phone interview shortly after his release, said "I'm fine. I'm just so happy to be free."
He said he was so emotional because he was out and alive.
"There were times when I thought 'I'm dead,' and I'm not," Centanni said. "I'm fine. I'm so very happy."
During the press conference they told how they were kidnapped:
He recounted how he and Wiig were pulled out of their car on August 14 and taken at gunpoint into another car. The kidnappers blindfolded them and handcuffed their hands behind their backs with plastic ties. They were then transferred to another car and driven to a building that they later learned was a garage.
"We were pushed down onto the dirt-covered concrete floor and we were forced to lie face down with our handcuffs on," Centanni said.
"Olaf was in the same room with me. Our shoulders were wrenched back, very painful."
And they detailed why they said those things in the video:
Both of the men were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, Centanni said.
"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni told FOX News. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."
[...]At the same time, before the journalists' release, a new video was released, showing Wiig and Centanni dressed in beige Arab-style robes. Wiig, of New Zealand, delivered an anti-Western speech, his face expressionless and his tone halting. The kidnappers claimed both men had converted to Islam.
The journalists had been seized in Gaza City on Aug. 14 by a previously unknown group calling itself the Holy Jihad Brigades. However, senior Palestinian security officials said Sunday the name was a front for local militants, and that Palestinian authorities had known the identity of the kidnappers from the start.
Question, then why in the flying hell didn’t the local "police" go in a get them out. Oh, I forgot, because this is the official policy of the Palestinians now and forever….terrorism. In other words, Hamas had a hand in this: (per DEBKA)
The Hamas team which abducted Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit on June 25 sought to ease the pressure for his release by staging a more spectacular snatch. For this reason, they hired Zakaria Dughmush and his masked men to capture the two Fox News journalists in Gaza City on Aug. 14…
Our counter-terror sources reveal that Dughmush was handed the contract to kidnap one or more Americans by the abductors of the Israeli soldier [Gilad Shalit] when their efforts to negotiate a prisoner swap broke down. Hamas ended up refusing the quid pro quo of a promise by Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, already deposited with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, to release 600 Palestinian prisoners. They held out for a simultaneous trade and then withdrew from the talks.
They turned to Dughmush when pressure built up to end the episode from many quarters, including the Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya, the Egyptians and the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.
Because neither set of abductors wanted Palestinians branded as kidnappers of Americans, they invented a group no one had heard of, calling it the Brigades of the Holy Jihad.
Here is the video of their forced conversion to Islam:
UPDATE III 1025hrs PST:
DEBKA is also reporting that a 6 figure ransom was paid for their release:
3. Various Palestinian middlemen were used by British agents at the request of the US to bring the Fox journalists home. They worked out a convoluted deal which entailed their public conversion to Islam, an anti-American harangue on air and a six-figure cash ransom paid under the table to Dughmush to fund his terrorist militia's operations in Gaza. While the first two parts of the ransom were publicly aired, the third part will no doubt be vehemently denied. But the face remains that a terrorist chief who freelances for at least three fundamentalist terrorist organizations walks free with a strong incentive to develop his profitable hostage-taking business.
That will solve everything, pay the terrorists instead of going in and killing them.
UPDATE IV 1040hrs PST
Here is the video of the press conference given by Steve and Olaf:
And some interesting pictures:
Don’t you love a smiling Hamas?
The comments made by Olaf and his wife in the above press conference appear to tell us volumes about the two:
I just hope this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover this story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful, kind-hearted, loving people who the world need to know more about and so do not be discouraged. Come and tell the story. It’s a wonderful story.
It’s a wonderful story of terrorism and bloodshed. These people kidnapped you, held you against your will, but hey, its a wonderful story.
Here is a video of Steve talking to Fox news via phone where he details the circumstances of their abduction in great detail:
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