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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Johnston kidnappers send tape to al-Jazeera

The kidnappers of BBC reporter Alan Johnston have sent a tape to al-Jazeera with their demands. The tape reportedly contains pictures of Johnston's identification card.

Arutz Sheva reminds us that the kidnappers of Eliyahu Asheri did the same thing after he had already been murdered.

Update 8:40 AM

Al-Jazeera has more details on the tape:
A group called Jaish al-Islam, or Army of Islam, has claimed to be holding Alan Johnston, the BBC's missing Gaza correspondent, and demanded Muslim prisoners in Britain be freed in exchange for his release.

Al Jazeera received a tape purportedly from the group and informed the BBC, which said it was investigating but would not comment further.

In the tape, the group said: "We demand from Britain that it release our prisoners and particularly Sheikh Abu Qatada the Palestinian and in this regard we do not forget our prisoners in other infidel countries and we say to all of them free our prisoners or we will do the same to you.


"We won’t make an exception for anyone. If you need money to release our prisoners we will give you all you need up to the last dirham we have."


Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera's Gaza correspondent, said there was no information on Johnston's whereabouts, his health or the group's intentions, but noted that the absence of any threat could be a good sign.

She said the group's demands were unusual as kidnappings in Gaza commonly had to do with factional fighting or the conflict with Israel.

She added that Jaish al-Islam was not a group seen on Gaza's streets and only came to prominence last year when it participated in the capture of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit alongside the more established Hamas and Popular Resistance Committees.


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