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Palestinian Official: Two Journalists Held Hostage Unharmed

26 August 2006

A Palestinian official says two Western journalists seized earlier this month in the Gaza Strip have not been harmed.

The Palestinian Interior Ministry spokesman did not say how he had heard about the condition of the two men.

Another Palestinian official said Saturday he is hoping for good news about the men within the coming days.

Those officials spoke as a Saturday deadline set by the captors expired.

Steve Centanni, an American, and Olaf Wiig, from New Zealand, were working for the American television network Fox News when they were abducted August 14.

A group calling itself Holy Jihad Brigades has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and is demanding that the United States release Muslim prisoners in exchange for the two journalists.

The U.S. says it does not negotiate with terrorists.

The group released a videotape earlier this week in which the journalists appealed to friends and family to work for their release.

More than 24 foreigners have been kidnapped in the Gaza Strip over the last two years. Most hostages are released within hours.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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