Fox News journalists freed

Two Fox News journalists kidnapped in Gaza have been freed, the television network says.

Fox News journalists freed

Steve Centanni, a 60-year-old American, and New Zealand-born cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, were seized on August 14 by a previously unknown group called the Holy Jihad Brigades.

After what was one of the longest detentions for foreign captives in Gaza, television images showed the two men being taken into a hotel by Palestinian security officials on Sunday.

Centanni burst into tears as he hugged an unidentified man at the entrance of the hotel. Both men were then taken upstairs.

The Holy Jihad Brigades claimed responsibility on Wednesday for the kidnapping and had told the United States to free Muslim prisoners to prevent the captives from facing unspecified consequences.

The deadline expired on Saturday.

Just prior to their release, a second video of the pair was issued.

Khaled Abu Hilal, the Palestinian interior ministry spokesman, said the government had received assurances that the hostages would be freed.

Religious conversion

Both journalists appeared to be in good health in the new video

The two men were shown separately, sitting cross-legged, reading statements announcing that they had converted to Islam.

Centanni said: "I changed my name to Khaled. I have embraced Islam and say the word Allah."

Wiig called on leaders of the West to stop "hiding behind the 'I don't negotiate with terrorists' myth".

A separate statement from the captors said: "They chose Islam and that is a gift that God gives those whom he chooses."

Political lobby

A video released on Wednesday showed the two men, dressed in tracksuits, sitting on a blanket in front of a black background.

They appeared fairly relaxed and in good health.

Both said that they were fine and being treated well.

The Hamas-led government called for the men to be freed while several prominent resistance groups in Gaza have denied involvement and also said the men should be freed.

The kidnapping is the longest-lasting abduction of foreigners in the Palestinian coastal strip in more than a year.
Previous kidnappings have usually ended after a few hours, or at most a few days, of captivity.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16