"Army of Islam" Claims Responsibility for BBC Reporter's Abduction
The Army of Islam asked for the release of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist Abu Qatada and other Palestinian prisoners from British jails in exchange for kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston.
The BBC’s Alan Johnston is shown here with jailed Palestinian Al Qaeda member Abu Qatada. (Maan News)
More than two months after British BBC journalist Alan Johnston was abducted by gunmen in the Gaza Strip, the ‘Jaish al-Islam’, or ‘Army of Islam’, has claimed responsibility for his abduction.
A spokesman of the army announced in a videotape, distributed in Gaza, their responsibility for Johnston’s abduction and demanding the release of “the Muslim prisoners in the British prisons, primarily the Palestinian Abu Qatada”.
According to Al-Jazeera International, the kidnappers continued in the tape, “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.”
The BBC report adds that the videotape, received by Al-Jazeera in Gaza, also apparently shows pictures of Johnston’s BBC identity card.
…The Army of Islam appeared in the Gaza Strip nearly one year ago when it announced its participation in the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gil’ad Shalit on 25 June 2007.
…Abu Qatada is under a worldwide embargo from the United Nations Security Council for his affiliation with al Qaeda. He is wanted on terrorism charges in Algeria, the United States, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and Jordan.
He has been detained in British custody in the UK since his most recent arrest in August 2005, shortly after the London underground bombings.
In April a separate militant group in Gaza, Al Tawhid Al Jihad Brigade, claimed they had executed Johnston.
Johnston has not been seen or heard from since his kidnapping.