Breaking: Group claims responsibility for Centanni abduction (Video added) (Update: An Al Qaeda connection?)

The “Holy Jihad Brigades”? Whose very first act of holy jihad is to kidnap a reporter and a cameraman?

That’s a shrewd way to get press, but at the rather large expense of antagonizing the Palestinian terror establishment you’re presumably trying to ingratiate yourself with.

Also, it took them nine days to demand that the U.S. release all “Muslim prisoners”?

We have 72 hours to do that, by the way. If we don’t, they’re vowing to — make us wait some more.

I don’t know. The name itself rings false somehow, possibly because it evokes the names of two other Pali terror groups: Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. I bet whoever took him did so for mercenary motives, and now that the heat is on, they’re trying to use Islam as cover. We shall see.

Update: According to Reuters, the statement of demands was sent to Al Jazeera by, um, fax.

Update: Fox is airing a screencap from video of Centanni and Wiig in captivity. I’ll post in a few minutes.

Update: Mary K is transcribing a leaflet put out by the group and obtained by Fox. It’s targeted at Arab leaders: “Muslims have been oppressed around the world. The Arab world is doing what the American government would like them to do. The Arab world has sold out the Palestinian cause. All non-believers should become believers. You raped us. You raped our nation.”

Update: Here’s the video. I boosted the audio to make it a little more intelligible.

Rusty Shackleford‘s working on getting a copy of the original. If there’s anything different about it, we’ll post that too.

Update: Alphabet City notes a report earlier on CNN: “Palestinian security sources say, an unnamed militant group has warned all foreigners to leave Gaza, threatening abductions.” Related?

Update: I love her, but E.M.’s kidding herself:

If Steve and Olaf are killed (heaven forbid), and this turns out to be an organization associated with the Palestinian Jihad (or whatever popular name it chooses these days), there is an actionable act of war that America will have to address. Killing American citizens is never a tolerable “development” for Middle Eastern nations, and were the legitimate Palestinian governing bodies in control, and mildly interested in diplomatic relations, it would behoove them to locate and ‘pursuade’ these hoodlums to return the journalists intact. We are not in a war with Palestine–yet–as we are in Iraq, where although civilians are not fair game, they are collateral damage. They may think its a cute idea to lob a left-fielder at the United States a la the Sunni “insurgency” but it isn’t quite as simple as a single military reovery operation. They’re playing a dice game which, if they lose, could result in a quarter of the entire US Navy showing up in the Suez.

They’ve killed American diplomats and gotten off scot-free. Does she really think Bush is going to mobilize against Islam’s Chosen People over a couple of journalists?

Update: Rusty’s got a ton of grim updates, and a few not so grim. Alphabet City says the kidnappers specifically demanded that prisoners be released from Guantanamo.

Update: The Blotter takes things from bad to worse:

The language in the statement, which denounces the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is similar in style and content to the kind of dispatches issued by Abu Musab al Zarqawi when he was leading al Qaeda in Iraq…

“The rhetoric is vintage al Qaeda,” said Fawaz Gerges, an ABC News Consultant and professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. “This is consistent with what we have seen in Iraq and other places.”…

Also unusual for Palestinian militants was the extraordinary demand issued in the statement that “Muslim prisoners in U.S. jails be released within three days” in exchange for the two Fox journalists. Targeting journalists from an American news organization and making demands on the United States rather than Israel is not typical for Palestinian groups.