Attacks on foreign journalists continue to intensify in Egypt. Yesterday, Anderson Cooper was beaten in the head and a Fox News crew had to be hospitalized. Today, Cooper suffered another attack, while an ABC news crew was threatened with "beheading" by a mob which included an attacker in a police uniform.
Cooper reported his second ordeal via Twitter today:
An ABC News crew suffered a similar attack on its vehicle. That crew's attackers even went as far as to threaten to cut the journalists' heads off:
A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them today in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising.
Producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded road that leads from Cairo's airport to the city's downtown area.
While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until today. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.
Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.
"We thought we were goners," Hartman said later. "We absolutely thought we were doomed."
According to Hartman's Twitter account, one of his attackers was wearing a police uniform:
Hartman went on to explain the attack in-depth:
"Then they directed our driver to take us down a dark, narrow alleyway. A man sitting next to me with a cigarette dropping ashes on my shoulder.... No way, we can't go down this alley, I told our driver, and he turned off the car."
The two vehicles were quickly engulfed by men who poured out of the alley. "It gradually escalated, the tension and anger in their voice.... It was pretty clear we were in a threatening situation. People were making gestures and putting their fingers under my throat" and making a slitting motion, he said.
"A man in police uniform came up to me and said, 'So help me God.... I am going to cut off your head,'" Hartman recalled.
One man was yelling, "Cut their necks now, cut their necks now," and another pointed an imaginary machine gun at Hartman and made shooting noises.
"I couldn't see outside the windows except angry faces and the gestures. I thought we were absolutely doomed," Hartman said.
They were saved, he said, when Abi-hanna "lunged forward and gave a great big bear hug" to a man who appeared to be an elder of the neighborhood. "He gave him a kiss on each cheek and told the man referring to me, 'He is my guest. He is your guest in this country. Egyptian people are better than this."
Hartman said the cameraman appealed to the "renowned generosity of the Egyptian people."
Abi-hanna's words "seemed to calm the tensions down" enough for them to get the cars in gear and escape, despite the efforts of some to stop them. [Emphasis added]
Meanwhile, Time Magazine reports Lara Logan, chief foreign affairs correspondent for CBS News, has been detained by Egyptian police outside Cairo's Israeli embassy.