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Widespread crackdown on journalists

Update 3:12 p.m. ET: Ben Wedeman of CNN reports on Twitter that Al Arabiya correspondent Ahmed Abdullah has been found in a hospital, where he is being treated after having been "severely beaten."

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Msnbc.com's Ian Johnston writes:

Mubarak supporters have attacked several journalists — including CNN's Anderson Cooper — during violent clashes with anti-government supporters in Egypt today.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that four Israeli reporters have been arrested.

NBC News' Richard Engel, in a message on Twitter, said journalists in Cairo had been "mobbed on the streets" by people angry with foreign press coverage.


 

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in a Twitter message that it was "concerned about detentions and attacks" on the media in Egypt, saying that the civil society the country "wants to build" included a free press.

Cooper, in a video published on CNN's Web site, said he and a TV crew had been trying to reach the "no man's land" between the two groups of protesters in central Tahrir Square when they were attacked by people who tried to grab their camera.

• Watch CNN's report

Cooper said they began walking away as calmly as they could, but the punches and kicks continued.

"It was pandemonium. Suddenly, a young man would come up, look at you and then punch you right in the face," Cooper said. "The instinct is to try to punch back ... but in a situation like that you really can't, because that just inflames the crowd even more."

The Middle East-based Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya networks also appeared to be unpopular with the pro-Mubarak crowd.

Al Arabiya reported that one of its correspondents, Ahmed Bagatu, was injured when he and his crew were attacked. Bagatu taken to a hospital, it said.

Reuters said placards carried by supporters of the government accused Arab media of broadcasting anti-Mubarak propaganda. One said: "Down with Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya."

The Associated Press said two of its correspondents had been "roughed up" by the crowd.

It also reported that a Belgian journalist had been beaten, detained and accused of spying by unidentified people in civilian clothes.