BBC Journalist Likely to be Freed in Gaza

GAZA, March 13 (Reuters) – The Hamas-led Palestinian government said on Tuesday it has information about who abducted a BBC correspondent in the Gaza Strip and expected him to be released soon.

"This issue is on its way to being solved, God willing. We have definite information regarding the parties behind this kidnapping," said Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad.

Hamad offered no other details.

Alan Johnston, who has been the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza for three years, was abducted on Monday while driving his car in the coastal strip.

"We still have no confirmation of the whereabouts of BBC Gaza Correspondent Alan Johnston," the BBC said in a statement. "We are working closely with the Palestinian authorities and others to establish the facts surrounding the situation."

Johnston is believed to be the only Western journalist still based full time in Gaza. Most other journalists moved out of the impoverished territory last year as fighting between rival Hamas and Fatah factions intensified.

Palestinian Interior Minister Saeed Seyam of Hamas described the kidnapping as a "criminal act" and security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah declared a state of emergency.

There have been a series of abductions of foreign journalists and aid workers in Gaza in the past year.

All have been released unharmed.

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