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June 24, 2007

Hamas-Clan Standoff Over BBC Man

In May, BBC and UN officials in Tehran marked Alan Johnston's birthday and called for his release

Tomorrow may be a fateful day for captive BBC journalist Alan Johnston, the Jerusalem Post reports:

Mumtaz Dughmush, the head of the Gaza clan that has been holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston for the past 100 days, is refusing to release the journalist for fear that Hamas will kill him and most of his clan members.

Dughmush, who is known as Abu Muhammad, is negotiating Johnston's release with Hamas leaders in return for assurances that he and his relatives will not be killed, sources close to Hamas told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

Member of clan holding Johnston killed
Since last Saturday, the sources said, dozens of Hamas militiamen have been surrounding the area where the Dughmush clan lives in Gaza City's Sabra neighborhood. Hamas has warned that it will use force unless Johnston is freed by Monday. . .

On Wednesday, a member of the clan, Munir Dughmush, was shot by unknown gunmen in Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood. His killing raised fears that the clan might try to kidnap another foreigner.

The Foreign Press Association has advised its members to take precautionary measures when visiting the Gaza Strip for fear of reprisal. . . .

The official expressed fear that the Dughmush clan might kill Johnston at the request of Dahlan and other top Fatah leaders to prevent Hamas from taking credit for his release.

Posted by TS at June 24, 2007 05:41 AM


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