Gaza kidnap journalists freed

Two Fox News journalists were released today after nearly two weeks in captivity in Gaza.

Two Fox News journalists were released today after nearly two weeks in captivity in Gaza.

The hostages were dropped off at Gaza City's Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials.

The hostages, cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand and correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, of the US, were unharmed.

They were seized in Gaza City on August 14. Their captors, a previously unknown group calling itself the Holy Jihad Brigades, demanded the release of all Muslims imprisoned by the US by midnight last night in exchange for freeing the journalists.

The kidnappers did not say what it would do to the men if the deadline passed with their demands unanswered.

It was not clear whether the kidnappers were local militants, either with ties to Hamas or the rival Fatah movement, or sneaked into Gaza from outside.

However, some Palestinian security officials believe the kidnappers were locals.

A tearful Centanni briefly embraced a Palestinian journalist in the lobby, then rushed upstairs. Wiig walked into the lobby behind Centanni, briefly turned when someone pulled him by the arm and appeared to yell at Palestinian security guards before heading upstairs.

The Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza militant group, today claimed it had helped mediate the release of the journalists.

The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority has insisted it had no clue about the identity of the kidnappers.

However, in recent days, Hamas government officials signalled that the release of the journalists was imminent and that they had won assurances from the kidnappers that the hostages were being treated well.

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