Riad Ali, a CNN producer for two years, has been abducted in Gaza today by armed gunmen. CNN Middle East Correspondent Ben Wedeman was in the car with Riad who had been apparently been pre-selected for the kidnapping. There are few details of the event so far, but one jumped out at me. Unlike many kidnappers, this group did not bother to wear masks.
Nidal al-Mughrabi reports for Reuters: Asked whether the abductors had given any clue why they were seizing Ali, who was identified by fellow journalists in Gaza as an Israeli Arab, Wedemen said: “These men were not very communicative. They just asked which one of you is Riyad, and that was it.”
More here than meets the eye… or the eyeless, Mr. Huxley… I wonder.
CNN’s own coverage is here.
At CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, CNN President Jim Walton said, “We are working actively for Riad’s safe return and are in touch with his family, offering them our full support during this difficult time. We have not yet heard from his abductors but urge them to release Riad immediately. He is a veteran journalist of the highest integrity.”
UPDATE: From Debka: CNN appeals to Arafat to secure release of Israeli Druze journalist, Riyadh Ali, on CNN TV staff, kidnapped by armed Palestinian gang in Gaza City‚Äôs Rimal City Monday. Arafat and Saeb Erekat said they would handle request. CNN asked Israel to refrain from any action so as not to jeopardize their efforts. Nothing of this on CNN’s own sit as yet.