In the wake of the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, senior Hamas leaders have vowed to work their influence to free kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston. Johnston was snatched off the street by gunmen on 12 March, and has not been seen or heard from since, although his wellbeing has been claimed by the Army of Islam, the group that has claimed responsibility for his abduction.
"We have started taking practical steps to release Alan Johnston." Hamas leaders said in a statement released yesterday. Ousted Prime Minister Esmail Hamiya, echoing the sentiment that the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip was a positive development and offered the best hope forhis freedom. "From now on, there will be one legitimate armed forde. We will bring discipline and law to Gaza. It will thus be easier to gain the liberation of the British journalist Alan Johnston. His kidnappers will listen to us more closely."
The Army of Islam, which claims to be holding Johnston has demanded the release of several Islamic militants and the Palestinian-born cleric Abu Qatada who is imprisoned in Britain.
In the wake of the kidnapping, Hamas, trying to move toward legitimate governance from armed insurrection, severed all ties with the Army of Islam, and denounced the abduction. Hamas and Haniya have repeatedly called for his release.
May they be able to secure it soon.