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(photo credit: AP)
The wife of a kidnapped Fox News cameraman said Wednesday she's been told by Palestinian officials her husband's captors acted on their own, without support from militant groups.
The cameraman, Olaf Wiig, 36, a New Zealander, and Fox reporter Steve Centanni, 60, a US citizen, were abducted Monday from their TV van.
The abduction took place near the Palestinian security services headquarters. Major militant groups in Gaza have denied involvement and there was no word of demands being made.
Wiig's wife, Anita McNaught, on Wednesday appealed to the kidnappers to free her husband and Centanni.
"The bottom line is, there is no good reason for these two men to be held," said McNaught, a BBC World presenter. "They are friends of the Palestinians. They are here telling the Palestinian story for weeks now, when the rest of the world's media has not been here."
McNaught said she has been told by Palestinian officials that the kidnappers appear to be rogue gunmen without ties to any of the political groups in Gaza. "What they (the authorities) have said to us is there is no political organization, (that) no official political organization backs this kidnapping," McNaught said.
Scores of foreigners have been abducted in Gaza in recent years, most by gunmen with ties to the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent offshoot of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.
The ruling Hamas movement has not played a prominent role in kidnappings of foreigners. However, in June, Hamas terrorists abducted IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, in a cross-border raid.
Jan Henderson, the New Zealand ambassador to Israel and Turkey, said Wednesday that Palestinian leaders have assured her and other diplomats they are doing everything they can to win the release of the hostages.
Henderson said she had made contact with diplomatic colleagues and senior Palestinian Authority figures, including in Abbas' office, immediately after arriving in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
"They assured me they are doing all they can, they take this matter extremely seriously, and we are looking for a very quick and peaceful resolution to this particular kidnapping," Henderson said.
"The Palestinian Authority has offered to cooperate. They are very upset. They have condemned the kidnapping, and they assured me they are doing everything they can for a quick and speedy resolution," she said.
Prime Minister Helen Clark has expressed New Zealand's deep concern for Wiig's safety.
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