Kidnapped FOX News Journalists Centanni and Wiig Freed

Kidnapped FOX News journalists Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig have been released unharmed.

Two Fox News journalists were released Sunday, nearly two weeks after being seized by militants, ending the longest-running drama involving foreign hostages in the Gaza Strip. American correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig of New Zealand were dropped off at Gaza City’s Beach Hotel, hours after appearing in a video released by their captors. The footage of them in captivity showed both men dressed in beige Arab-style robes, and the kidnappers claimed the journalists had converted to Islam.

Kidnapped Fox News Journalists Centanni and Wiig Freed Photo This video image shows Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, of the U.S., after he was released from captivity in the Gaza Strip, Sunday, Aug. 27 2006. Two Fox News journalists, Centanni and Olaf Wiig, 36, were released Sunday nearly two weeks after being seized by militants, ending the longest-running drama involving foreign hostages in the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/ APTN) TV OUT

They were both in Western-style clothing as they arrived at the hotel, quickly walking through the lobby. A tearful Centanni briefly embraced a Palestinian journalist, and Wiig turned and appeared to yell at Palestinian security guards before they headed upstairs.

Great news indeed.

I was unfamiliar with Wiig before the kidnapping but am willing to wager quite a large sum that Centanni has not converted to Islam.

UPDATE: More from FOX News:

Centanni, in a phone interview shortly after his release, said “I’m fine. I’m just so happy to be free.” He said he was so emotional because he was out and alive. “There were times when I thought ‘I’m dead,’ and I’m not,” Centanni said. “I’m fine. I’m so very happy.”

Kidnapped Fox News Journalists Centanni and Wiig Freed Photo 2

He recounted how he and Wiig were pulled out of their car on August 14 and taken at gunpoint into another car. The kidnappers blindfolded them and handcuffed their hands behind their backs with plastic ties. They were then transferred to another car and driven to a building that they later learned was a garage. “We were pushed down onto the dirt-covered concrete floor and we were forced to life face down with our handcuffs on,” Centanni said. “Olaf was in the same room with me. Our shoulders were wrenched back, very painful.”

Both of the men were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint, Centanni said.

Centanni’s brother, Ken, spoke to FOX News directly after the news was released. “It’s just a tremendous amount of relief, overwhelming relief,” he said.

Some emotional expression is permitted on such occasions, methinks.

Incredibly, to watch the FOX video feed of this story requires sitting through an 18 second ad for a stock trading company beforehand. That seems a wee bit inappropriate under the circumstances.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Absolutely outstanding. I agree, say nothing else, appreciate the moment for what it is.

  2. Triumph says:

    Incredibly, to watch the FOX video feed of this story requires sitting through an 18 second ad for a stock trading company beforehand. That seems a wee bit inappropriate under the circumstances.

    I wonder if Murdoch and Roger Ailes are going to pay Centanni & Wiig’s salaries for the time they weren’t “reporting”? Maybe they’ll just be docked vacation days.

  3. legion says:

    Wow. That went surprisingly well for those guys. Excellent news to start the week with.