Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig are free today.
Militants freed two Fox News journalists on Sunday, ending a nearly two week hostage drama. One of the former captives said they were sometimes held face down in a dark garage, tied up in painful positions and forced at gunpoint to make videos and say they had converted to Islam.
Correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, of Washington, D.C., and cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, of New Zealand, were dropped off at Gaza City’s Beach Hotel by Palestinian security officials. A tearful Centanni briefly embraced a Palestinian journalist in the lobby, then rushed upstairs with Wiig behind him.
The pair, who appeared to be in good health, then met with Palestinian officials, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The three men sat in a circle of chairs at the hotel, before the journalists held a news conference, then left for Israel.
The journalists said they hoped their ordeal would not prevent others from covering the Palestinians.
“I want to thank everybody. I am happy to be here. I hope that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind-hearted,” Centanni told reporters. “The world needs to know more about them. Don’t be discouraged.”
Wiig also said he was worried that the kidnapping would scare off reporters.
“My biggest concern really is that as a result of what happened to us foreign journalists will be discouraged from coming to tell the story and that would be a great tragedy for the people of Palestine,” Wiig said. “You guys need us on the streets, and you need people to be aware of the story.”
I’m happy that these guys are free today, but after everyone gets back to their own lives I hope we don’t lose sight of who the enemy is. Hamas is still a terrorist organization, even though they helped secure the release of Centanni and Wiig. The reporters statements today in front of the cameras can be used as propaganda against Israel, and could “soften” the image of Hamas in the U.S. All I’m saying is, in the joy of the moment, lets not forget who we’re dealing with here.
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