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Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2007

Prime minister contacts journalist’s kidnappers

May 3, 2007


— The Palestinian prime minister reported progress in efforts to free a kidnapped British journalist, saying Wednesday that negotiators have persuaded the captors to reduce their demands.

The kidnappers of British Broadcasting Corp. correspondent Alan Johnston initially had seven demands, said Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. "During debate, those demands were reduced to three," Haniyeh told reporters, confirming earlier reports that officials were negotiating with the kidnappers. He did not say what the remaining demands were.

Johnston was seized at gunpoint in Gaza City on March 12 and has not been seen or heard from since.

Haniyeh sent a series of letters to to "clarify to these people that this issue doesn't serve the interest of our people, and the Muslims," said an aide to the prime minister, Ahmed Youssef.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Wednesday that security forces know Johnston's whereabouts, and suggested they were holding off on a rescue raid for fear of harming the captive. "We know where the journalist is, and we want to preserve his life and we want to save him, and this needs time," Abbas was quoted as saying by the official Wafa news agency.


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