A group, calling themselves the Holy Jihad Brigades, a faction which was not previously known in Gaza, has threatened to kill the two Fox News journalists kidnapped 9 days ago, if the does not release all Muslim prisoners in its jails within the next 72 hours.


Holy Jihad said that the clock begins on Wednesday at 12:00, the 29th of Rajab 1447 in the Islamic calendar. They did not use the Christian calendar.

The kidnappers released a video cassette and statement in which the journalists described their conditions.

Observers noted that this is the first time that any group has threatened to kill those that they kidnapped as all other similar kidnappings ended peacefully.

Olaf Wiig, a New Zealander camaraman, and Steve Centanni, an American journalist, were reporting for the media network Fox News when they were kidnapped in Gaza City by a previously unknown group of gunmen on Monday 14 August.

The two Fox journalists said they were in "fairly good health" and appealed for help to secure their release, a videotape released on Wednesday showed.

The correspondents  were shown sitting on a blanket on a floor against a black backdrop with no markings. No militants could be seen.

"We’re alive and well, in fairly good health," Centanni said. "Just want to let you know I’m here and alive and give my love to my family and friends and ask you to do anything you can to try to help us get out of here."

Centanni said they had been treated well.

"I know my family will already be doing this, but if you could apply any political pressure … both here in Gaza and the West Bank that would be much appreciated by both Steve and myself," Wiig added.

"Release what you have, and we will release what we have," the "Holy Jihad Brigades" said in a statement. "It should include everybody without exception. We will give you 72 hours beginning from midday. If you implement our conditions we will implement our promise, otherwise you will have to wait."

Hamas said it was unaware of the "Holy Jihad Brigades."

"We reject and condemn the kidnapping of foreigners and journalists and we urge the kidnappers to immediately free them," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

About 30 members of the Palestinian Journalists’ Union gathered outside the parliamentary building in Gaza, holding up signs demanding the two Fox News journalists, snatched Monday from their TV van near the Palestinian security services headquarters, be freed. Other signs called for security in Gaza, where armed men wander the streets freely.

More than two dozen foreigners have been abducted by Palestinian gunmen, usually in an attempt to settle personal scores, but almost all have been released within hours. This is the longest that foreigners have been held. Security officials are especially concerned because all the armed groups have denied involvement and no demands have been put forth

Khaled Batch, a leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group, said kidnapping members of the media “silenced the voice of freedom and justice.”

“We…have experienced oppression and denial. We don’t want to practice this pain and suffering on others, on other wives and people,” Batch said.

*sourced from Ma’an News