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Egyptian military confirms four journalists arrested in Suez

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, for CNN
The Suez Police headquarters were the scene of previous protests on July 6 in Suez, Egypt.
The Suez Police headquarters were the scene of previous protests on July 6 in Suez, Egypt.
  • One of the journalists tells CNN "it's all just a misunderstanding"
  • An Egyptian military official says the four were arrested by citizens
  • The citizens turned them over to Egyptian military intelligence, the official says
  • Egypt
  • Suez
  • Arab Spring
  • Middle East

Cairo (CNN) -- Four American journalists were arrested Monday in Egypt while filming anti-government protests at the Suez Canal.

Video producer Jason Mojica -- a former Al Jazeera journalist -- and his two-man crew, who were not identified, had arrived in Egypt earlier in the week to cover stories related to the Egyptian revolution for Vice magazine's online website based in New York.

Sherif Helwa -- an Egyptian-American energy consultant reporting for Platts, an information provider in the energy and metals industries -- had joined the Vice crew in their coverage of the unrest in Suez to write a print piece.

"They were arrested by citizens who handed them over to the military intelligence in Suez, " said Lt. Col, Amr Imam of the Egyptian Armed Forces.

"I don't understand why they said they were reporting for Al Jazeera English when they didn't have identification cards. They are now in custody of the Egyptian 3rd Army in Suez," Imam added,

Mojica carried an old Al Jazeera identification card on him.

CNN was able to speak to Helwa by phone while in custody, before his phone was confiscated.

"We were arrested around 3 p.m., but they are treating us well and it's all just a misunderstanding," said Helwa.

Mojica communicated to CNN with an electronic message confirming that he was well.

The Vice crew was reportedly scheduled to return to New York on Tuesday.

Journalists in Cairo contributed to this report.

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