UPDATE FRIDAY: Greg Palkot this morning wrote a pretty fascinating firsthand account of the ordeal. Read it here:
PREVIOUS: FOX News Channel’s veteran foreign correspondent Greg Palkot and his camerman Olaf Wiig have suffered severe injuries in Cairo while covering the unrest in the Egypt capital. Palkot was badly beaten and Wiig has a possible broken jaw after being attacked by pro-Hosni Mubarak supporters yesterday. Both were hospitalized overnight. Out of concern for the safety of its journalists, Fox News kept the incident a secret until their release from the hospital today. Now more details explaining the network’s decision to keep the attack quiet have emerged. Sources at Fox News confirm that at the hospital, Palkot and Wiig were detained by military police and accused of being Israeli spies, prompting the network’s executives to seek help from the State Department. In 2007, the same camerman, Olaf Wiig, was taken hostage in the Gaza strip with correspondent Steve Centanni. They were released 2 weeks later.
This marks the most brazen attack yet on American journalists in Egypt where violence has been escalating, with 10 anti-Hosni Mubarak protesters killed over the past 24 hours in Tahrir Square alone. Yesterday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour and CBS News’ Katie Couric were confronted by angry mobs supporting Mubarak but left largely unscathed. Additionally, an ABC News crew was carjacked by angry Egyptian men and threatened with beheading before a Lebanese-born camerman Akram Abi-hanna was able to talk the carjackers into releasing them. The Egyptian military has been rounding up foreign journalists, possibly for their own protection, and keeping them away from the areas of intense fighting.
UPDATE: On air, Fox News’ John Roberts just gave more details about the incident involving Palkot and Wiig. “Greg Palkot who you have seen with all his amazing coverage of the protest for the last few days and Olaf Wiig, his dedicated cameraman, were above Tahrir Square yesterday, reporting on the incidents going on there, reporting on the back and forth between the demonstrators and pro government forces,” Roberts said. “They were forced to leave their position when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at it, a large fire erupted. They were forced to flee. They ran out and ran right into the pro Mubarak crowd and were severely beaten and had to be taken to the hospital, spent the night in the hospital. The extent of their injuries was fairly grave, however, they have been released from the hospital.” Here is the complete video: