Centanni, Wiig freed (Update: Conversion video added) (Update: A Gilad Shalit connection?)
posted at 9:49 am on August 27, 2006 by Allahpundit
“Khaled” celebrates his freedom:
There’ll be some sort of video here soon. Stand by for updates.
Update: Fox News Sunday is interviewing Centanni right now. I’ll have video of that and, I think, the conversion video very shortly.
Update: Are we about to get more good news on the hostage front?
Update: Here’s their “conversion” video, courtesy (as always) of the Jawa king. Note how it’s introduced by the line from the Koran about there being no compulsion in religion.
Update: Here’s the clip from Fox News Sunday. There’s nothing new here if you’ve watched the other videos; if you haven’t, it’ll bring you up to speed.
Update: Yay, Hamas!
Update: Two sensational charges by Debka:
2. Although the foreign intelligence agencies with a presence in Gaza knew where the Fox reporters were being held, neither the Americans, the Israelis nor the British – the senior US ally in the war on terror – were willing to go in and recover them by force, or even lay hands on Dughmush and his gunmen…
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.
Update: Abbas and Haniyeh obviously know who the kidnappers are. Are they going to arrest them? Probably not, no:
Haniyeh was evasive Sunday when asked whether he would try to arrest the kidnappers. Before Hamas ousted Fatah in March, it frequently had criticized the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority for cutting deals with kidnappers and letting them go without punishment.
Update: DU debates the “conversion.”
Update: He’s been through hell, so of course he gets a pass. But I don’t mind telling you that these photos of Centanni gazing adoringly at Haniyeh are making me ill.
Update: So moved is Lieutenant Smash by the “conversion” video that he too has embraced Islam.
Update: Just across at Time. Was Debka right about there being a Gilad Shalit connection here?
Palestinian security sources close to the negotiators told TIME that the two Fox Newsmen — reporter Steve Centanni, 60, from Washington D.C. and New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36 — were kidnapped from Gaza to embarrass Haniyeh’s government. The militants, who earlier identified themselves as members of the previously unknown Holy Jihad Brigades, were enraged with fellow Hamas militants because they too had joined in the daring capture on June 25th of Corp. Shalit, in which Palestinian gunmen tunneled under a wall and attacked an Israeli army post. But according to these security sources, the militant groups fell out after Hamas’ military wing took control of Shalit and elbowed the other co-conspirators aside.
In revenge, these militants, who belong to a splinter group of the late Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, struck back by seizing the two journalists, these sources said.
Haniyeh was able to secure the journalists’ freedom, but at a high price: he has agreed to give these armed extremists a role in deciding the fate of the Israeli soldier, these sources said.