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Posted at 9:48 AM ET, 02/ 2/2011

Egypt update: Foreign media attacked

By Melissa Bell and Sam Sanders
egypt riots
Protesters march in Cairo on Tuesday, Feb. 1. (Ben Curtis/AP)

As protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square turn violent, we're seeing reports of attacks on reporters at the scene. The Washington Post's Griff Witte reported that he was "roughed up" by Mubarak supporters, who Witte says are very hostile to foreign media.

Listen!

CNN reporter Anderson Cooper and his crew were attacked by what he said were pro-Mubarak supporters. Cooper was punched in the head about 10 times.

Jon Bjorgvinsson, a correspondent for RUV, Iceland's national broadcaster, "was knocked to the ground, his camera was broken and his clothes were ripped. The police arrested the television station's other cameraman, RUV reports."

Just saw a foreign journalist being chased by a mob with weapons. He was alone. They got him. God help himless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Protesters are hunting down Al Jazeera journos. I keep having to clarify that I'm not one of themless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

And Ben Wedeman from CNN reports:

I was not injured. Harassed? Yes. Appears the pro-government "demonstrators" have been given instructions to target press. #Jan25 #Egyptless than a minute ago via web

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley took to Twitter to speak out against anti-media violence in Egypt:

We are concerned about detentions and attacks on news media in #Egypt. The civil society that Egypt wants to build includes a free press.less than a minute ago via web

NBC's Richard Engel is reporting that journalists are being mobbed on the street in Cairo. Haaretz.com is reporting that four Israeli reporters have been arrested in Egypt, for violating curfew and entering the country with tourist visas instead of work visas.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is working for the journalists release, according to reports.

"We call on all Israeli reporters arriving in Cairo to remain alert, act responsibility and honor the place's rules," said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.

10:42 p.m. EET/3:42 p.m. EST

CNN's Ben Wedeman tweets that a lost journalist has been found:

Al-Arabiya TV correspondent Ahmed Abdullah has been found. Was severely beaten, now in hospital. #Jan25 #Egyptless than a minute ago via web

Al-Arabiya had previously reported that Abdullah went missing after being having been confronted by pro-Mubarak reporters.

CBS journalist Mark Strassmann described his experience in Liberation Square:

"My colleague was ahead of me when we were suddenly attacked. My colleague's small camera was in his pocket, but we stood out as Americans. People began pushing and shoving both of us, especially him. We've been in these situations enough to know you just try to get out as quickly as you can. But we were trapped. From behind, I saw him get pushed and shoved, and then three separate people ran up to throw punches at him as he ducked to get out of the melee. He later told me he had also been maced."

CNN reported that a Belgian reporter was "arrested, beaten and accused of being a spy by men in plain clothes" in Cairo.

Jean-Francois Julliard, the secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders has spoken out on the rash of violence against journalists in Egypt:

"The use of violence against media personnel is especially shocking... We urge the international community to react strongly to these excesses. And we remind the Egyptian government that it has a duty to apply the law and to urgently restore security for everyone, including media personnel."

By Melissa Bell and Sam Sanders  | February 2, 2011; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Next: Obama and Egypt: has he handled it well?

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