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Hamas calls for immediate release of BBC reporter

The armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement calls for immediate release of the British BBC reporter Alan Johnston.

world Updated: Jun 15, 2007 21:30 IST

The armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement on Friday called for immediate release of the British BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in the Gaza Strip nearly four weeks ago.

Johnston would be no more held as hostage, said Abu Obaida, a spokesman for the Izz El Deen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.

Johnston, 44, was kidnapped at gunpoint in Gaza city on March 12.

Hamas made the appeal after the group took control of the Gaza Strip after days of bloody fighting against forces loyal to Fatah movement under Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas' Gaza house and office were among the security compounds that Hamas seized. More than 130 Palestinians were killed in what Hamas calls "a campaign to clean Gaza from a Fatah-affiliated group promoting a US and Israeli agenda."