Welcome to Battling Terrorism! National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) check current status
Check the current threat level

     Menu
· Home
· Advertising
· Downloads
· Feedback
· Journal
· Private Messages
· Recommend Us
· Search
· Statistics
· Stories Archive
· Submit News
· Surveys
· Top 10
· Topics
· Web Links
· Your Account

     User Info
Welcome, Anonymous
Nickname
Password
(Register)
Membership:
Latest: igejofor
New Today: 0
New Yesterday: 0
Overall: 44490

People Online:
Visitors: 69
Members: 0
Total: 69

     Check This Out

Bowen Research


     Books from Amazon

     Click for Info

NCO-No Compassion Observed


     Check this out

Bowen Research


     Click for Information

Save Darfur


     Thought for the Day

     Webstats Domain
battlingterrorism.com statistics

 News: BBC reporter Alan Johnston freed in Gaza

Latest NewsBBC reporter Alan Johnston freed in Gaza
Guardian Unlimited

By Conal Urquhart in Gaza City


BBC journalist Alan Johnston is all smiles after being freed following four months in captivity in Gaza City
BBC journalist Alan Johnston (centre) shown after his release. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty images
 

Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist held hostage in the Gaza Strip since March, was handed over to Hamas officials by his Islamist captors early this morning, July 4th.

The 45-year-old Briton, looking pale and frail, was taken to the offices of the disputed Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, in Gaza City. A witness said he was well, but had lost a lot of weight.

The BBC confirmed Mr Johnston had been freed by his kidnappers.

He is expected to leave Gaza for Israel as soon as possible. According to a Foreign Office advance plan, he will receive medical attention in Jerusalem before decisions are made about when he will return home to Britain.

Speaking to BBC News 24 after his release, Mr Johnston said: "It's the most fantastic thing to be free."

He described his 16 weeks of captivity as "appalling".

"It became almost hard to imagine normal life again," he said. "Now it really is over and it is indescribably good to be out."

Mr Johnston, the only western correspondent working full-time in Gaza, went missing on March 12. His captors later declared themselves to be the Army of Islam, an al-Qaida-inspired group with links to one of Gaza's powerful clans. Concern grew last month when the group issued a video of Mr Johnston in what appeared to be a vest packed with explosives and threatened to kill the reporter if ...


there was an attempt to free him.

His release comes after Hamas security forces surrounded a group of buildings in Gaza City yesterday, where he was believed to have been held. Hamas had issued several ultimatums to his captors, warning that force could be used to secure his freedom.

From 5.30am yesterday, members of the Hamas police, the Executive Force, took over the rooftops of high rise apartment blocks that overlook the stronghold of the Dogmush family in the Sabra district of Gaza City. The activity was considered as part of a policy to increase pressure on the kidnappers.

The forces closed off all streets in the area and checked cars and individuals who wanted to leave the area. There was sporadic shooting throughout the day and one passerby was shot dead in crossfire.

The Hamas force has detained several members of the Dogmush family at roadblocks while Dogmush gunmen abducted 10 students of the Islamic University from their residence in the Sabra area.

The Dogmush family is a large clan which has several groups, one of which, under Mumtaz Dogmush, has been involved in several kidnappings, including that of Mr Johnston. The Army of Islam was involved in the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit more than a year ago, although it was sidelined soon afterwards.

As darkness fell last night, dozens of Hamas gunmen in black masks moved closer to the Dogmush compound, a mixture of apartment blocks and commercial premises.

The breakthrough was said to have come after pressure from another militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees, who visited the Mumtaz Dogmush to help negotiate a final agreement.

Since Hamas has taken control of Gaza, its leaders have repeated their intention to free Mr Johnston, to demonstrate that they can provide better security in Gaza than the forces of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah which they routed in street battles two weeks ago.

The leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said the freeing of Mr Johnston showed his movement had brought order to the Gaza Strip.

"We have been able to close this chapter which has harmed the image of our people greatly. The efforts by Hamas have produced the freedom of Alan Johnston," Mr Meshaal told the Reuters agency by telephone from Syria.

Simon Wilson, the bureau chief of the BBC, said he believed that the buildup of forces was a tactic to increase pressure on the kidnappers rather than a prelude to a rescue attempt. "We have repeatedly said that we do not want military action to free Alan," he said.

At a press conference in Gaza City earlier, Mr Haniyeh said that Hamas hoped to end Mr Johnston's captivity peacefully but retained other options. Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, accused Mr Johnston's captors of smearing the Palestinian people's reputation.

In London, no immediate comment was available from the Foreign Office. More than a dozen journalists and foreign aid workers have been kidnapped in Gaza in recent months, but Mr Johnston was held longer than others.




Related articles
03.07.2007: Johnston's kidnappers 'surrounded'
02.07.2007: Hamas captures spokesman for kidnappers
01.07.2007: Kidnapped BBC man's fate hangs on clan feud
25.06.2007: Alan Johnston's family 'distressed' by video
25.06.2007: Video shows kidnapped BBC man wearing explosives belt
20.06.2007: Two-minute silence for Alan Johnston
20.06.2007: Vigils for kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston
20.06.2007: Paris demonstration: who took part
18.06.2007: Hamas issues Johnston ultimatum
18.06.2007: Alan Johnston on the craft of radio reporting
18.06.2007: Renewed threat to kill abducted reporter
11.06.2007: BBC Gaza posting under 'constant review'
01.06.2007: Alan Johnston: captors treating me well
01.06.2007: Alan Johnston video released
01.06.2007: Transcript: the Alan Johnston video
29.05.2007: BBC and WSJ clash over Alan Johnston editorial
17.05.2007: Radical cleric in talks on Alan Johnston
15.05.2007: Address issued for birthday tributes for Alan Johnston
10.05.2007: Alan Johnston wins Press Club award
09.05.2007: Militants demand release of cleric in return for Johnston
09.05.2007: Video of Alan Johnston's press card sent to al-Jazeera
02.05.2007: 'Progress' in bid to free Johnston
24.04.2007: Livingstone urges Johnston's release
19.04.2007: Johnston alive, says Palestinian president
16.04.2007: BBC staff rally for Alan Johnston
16.04.2007: BBC pursues Alan Johnston rumours
16.04.2007: BBC reporter murdered, claims unknown group
16.04.2007: Alan Johnston's parents 'desperately worried'
12.04.2007: Simulcast pleads for release of Alan Johnston
12.04.2007: Father appeals for Alan Johnston's release
12.04.2007: BBC assured of Alan Johnston's safety by Palestinian president
11.04.2007: BBC ramps up efforts for Alan Johnston's release
09.04.2007: Archbishop calls for release of BBC man kidnapped in Gaza
08.04.2007: Feuding clan holds key to Alan Johnston kidnap riddle
05.04.2007: UK government lobbies Hamas over BBC's Alan Johnston
05.04.2007: Hopes for progress on kidnap of BBC's Alan Johnston
04.04.2007: Protesters blockade Palestinian parliament over Johnston kidnap
02.04.2007: Newspaper ad demands Alan Johnston's release
26.03.2007: BBC staff call for journalist's release
20.03.2007: Beckett adds government weight to Gaza hostage campaign
12.04.2007: BBC assured of Alan Johnston's safety by Palestinian president
19.03.2007: Fears grow for BBC Gaza correspondent
19.03.2007: BBC holds vigil for Alan Johnston
14.03.2007: Hamas government acts to free kidnapped BBC man
13.03.2007: Palestinian authorities aim to free journalist
13.03.2007: No word on missing BBC journalist
12.03.2007: BBC journalist feared kidnapped in Gaza

MediaGuardian.co.uk special reports
The BBC
TV news



 
     Related Links
· More about Latest News
· News by Editor


Most read story about Latest News:
CSIS boss calls racial profiling 'fundamentally stupid'


     Article Rating
Average Score: 0
Votes: 0

Please take a second and vote for this article:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Regular
Bad


     Options

 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly


"Login Get OurNewsletter" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register





Copyright © 2005 - 2014 URLville Web Services and BattlingTerrorism.com. All rights reserved. All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest © 2005 - 2014 by URLville Web Services and BattlingTerrorism.com
PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.05 Seconds