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Alan Johnston Released

BBC's Gaza correspondent released

BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been freed by his captors in Gaza after his abduction nearly four months ago.

Television pictures showed Mr Johnston, 45, leaving a building and entering a white car, accompanied by armed men. He said he was tired but in good health.

During his time as a hostage, three videos were released featuring images of Mr Johnston or of his belongings.

Calls were made for his release in rallies worldwide and in an online petition signed by some 200,000 people.

The journalist was handed over to officials of the Hamas administration.

Gunmen from the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement overran Gaza last month, expelling their rivals from the Fatah faction.

Hamas' military wing had said it would spare no effort to secure the BBC reporter's release.

A previously little-known militant group, the Army of Islam, claimed it was holding Mr Johnston and had released videos demanding the release of Muslim prisoners in British custody.

The group had said it would kill its captive if its demands were not met.

I am utterly surprised! Thankfully so, this is great news. I seriously thought he had been killed when he was first kidnapped.

But I'm left asking what exactly was gained from his capture? And why release right now? Is it because HAMAS has secured itself in Gaza after the coup, or did our new leaders in the UK manage to pull something off?

Either way I've got a great deal of respect for the man. It takes a hell of a lot of courage to be a correspondent in a place like that and risking all that he has. The man deserves a pay rise. smile.gif
Apparently the Army of Islam called him into the Diary Room and told him his grandmother had passed away. He finished his rice before deciding it was time to leave. He hugged his captors, one of whom jokingly told him to f*@# off already, and he was allowed to leave.
It was surprising and very welcome news. The political advantage for Hamas cannot be overlooked, so much so that I wonder how detached from the whole event they were to begin with... But that's the cynic in me talking.
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