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June 25, 2007

Video Shows Johnston with Bomb Belt

A frame from the video of Alan Johnston, released today/AP

There were intimations that today would be a fateful day for BBC's Alan Johnston, with Hamas pledging to attempt to release him by force.

His captors, the Dughmush clan, are having none of it, and the Army of Islam reportedly released a video of Johnston wearing an explosives belt. AP reports:

Army of Islam later made the one minute and 42-second-long video available on a web site early Monday morning.

In the video, Johnston is wearing an apparent explosives belt of the type suicide bombers use and warning it will be detonated if an attempt is made to free him by force.

It opens with the title "Alan's Appeal" in both English and Arabic and features the logo of the Army of Islam, a shadowy group that has claimed responsibility for snatching Johnston.

"Captors tell me that very promising negotiations were ruined when the Hamas movement and the British government decided to press for a military solution to this kidnapping," Johnston says in the recording, looking nervous and stressed.

"And the situation is now very serious, as you can see."

Johnston is seen wearing a red sweater with a blue and white checked vest strapped around his body - the apparent bomb belt.

"I have been dressed in what is an explosive belt, which the kidnappers say will be detonated if there is an attempt to storm the area," he continues. "They say they are ready to turn the hide-out into what they describe as a death zone if there is an attempt to free me by force."

Posted by TS at June 25, 2007 02:43 AM


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