Gaza’s “Holy Jihad Brigades” Demand Prisoner Swap for Journalists

by Michael J. Totten

TEL AVIV -- Lots of people get kidnapped in Gaza. It’s common knowledge in Israel that most hostages are released within two to four hours, and that kidnappings are just a part of Gaza’s fun-filled internal politics. So when two Fox News journalists vanished into Gaza for days, it didn’t look good. They’re alive, as it turns out, but it still doesn’t look good.

A PREVIOUSLY unheard of group, the Holy Jihad Brigades, yesterday claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of two Fox News journalists in Gaza ten days ago and demanded that the United States free "Muslim prisoners" within 72 hours to gain their release.

In a video released later, the two journalists, correspondent Steve Centanni, a 60-year old American and New Zealand cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, said they were in "fairly good health" and appealed for help to secure their release. It was the first time the two had been seen since they were abducted in front of a security forces headquarters while on a story.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark says her government will not pay a ransom to free Olaf Wiig or his American colleague. It almost goes without saying that the U.S. also won’t free any prisoners to secure the release of the hostages.

Rusty Shackleford thinks Al Qaeda 3.0 is behind these kidnappings, and he’s probably right.