Hamas announced Sunday that it would extend the detention of Paul Martin, a British reporter and filmmaker arrested in Gaza two weeks earlier. No charges against Martin have been made public.
Martin was arrested while in court to testify on behalf of an Arab friend accused of “collaboration with Israel.” One Arab-language newspaper suggested that Martin was trying to locate where terrorists are holding Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whom they kidnapped more than three years ago.
Hamas spokesmen claimed Martin was guilty of “violating Palestinian law and security in the Gaza strip,” but did not mention more specific accusations. They said the journalist would be held while Hamas authorities in Gaza continue to investigate.
Martin has contributed to the London Times, Mirror, and BBC. He has been working in the region for several years.
Britain has expressed concern over Martin's detention, as has the Foreign Press Association in Jerusalem. The British man is the first foreigner to be officially arrested by Hamas since the group took control of Gaza.
In 2007, British journalist Alan Johnston was kidnapped by an Al Qaeda-linked Gaza terrorist group and held captive for 114 days. Johnston was eventually released by his captors. Hamas took credit for the release, claiming that Johnston's captors let him go due to Hamas pressure.