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

Contextual harassment
Burglars should be choosers

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