Group Claims Kidnapped BBC Reporter Is Dead

Journalist based in Gaza has been missing for a month
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2007 7:05 AM CDT
(FILES) In this recent undated photo released by the British...    (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – An obscure Palestinian group claims to have murdered a veteran BBC journalist kidnapped in Gaza a month ago. There is no confirmation of the claim and a Palestinian Authority official, Saeb Erekat, said: “I urge those who abducted Johnston, instead of circulating rumors, and I hope these rumors are only rumors, to release him immediately and without any conditions."

Alan Johnston, 44, was the only western journalist based full-time in the most violent of the Palestinian territories. Since the kidnapping, Palestinian journalists, the BBC, CNN, Sky News and Al Jazeera have co-operated in efforts to win his release. The message claiming Johnston is dead came from a group calling itself Al Tawhid Al Jihad, or Unity and Holy War Brigade.