Monday, June 25, 2007
The kidnappers of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston have released a new video of him in which he is wearing what he says is an explosives vest.
In the video Mr Johnston, captured more than 100 days ago in Gaza, urges the British government and the Hamas movement to return to negotiations to secure his release from captivity, rather than press for a military solution.
Wearing a bomb belt of the type used by Palestinian suicide bombers, he says: "Captors tell me that very promising negotiations were ruined when the Hamas movement and the British government decided to press for a military solution to this kidnapping and the situation is now very serious."
In the poor-quality video, Mr Johnston continues: "As you can see, I have been dressed in what is an explosive belt, which the kidnappers say will be detonated if there is an attempt to storm the area.
"They say they are ready to turn the hide-out into what they describe as a death zone if there is an attempt to free me by force.
Johnston was seized from a Gaza street on March 12. His captors have previously said they want a Palestinian militant jailed in Britain to be released in exchange for his freedom. Johnston had reported from Gaza since 2005 and was the only foreign journalist to remain based there after Palestinian infighting erupted last year. There has been a series of kidnappings of foreign journalists in Gaza in the past two years, but Johnston's captivity has been the longest.