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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 12:39 GMT
Rally for missing BBC journalist
Alan Johnston
Johnston has been the BBC's reporter in Gaza for three years

Palestinian journalists have rallied outside parliament in Gaza City in support of the BBC's Alan Johnston, who is thought to have been abducted.

They were joined by Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti and the BBC's Middle East bureau chief, Simon Wilson.

Palestinian security officials say Johnston was kidnapped from his car by masked gunmen on Monday.

The BBC says it cannot independently verify these reports.

Efforts to secure Mr Johnston's release have been continuing.

'High regard'

More than 20 journalists gathered to voice their support for Johnston who has been the BBC's Gaza correspondent for three years.

Wilson thanked the Palestinian journalists for their support for Johnston and spoke of the high regard in which they hold him.

"It is clear to us that in Gaza, Alan is regarded as a Gaza journalist foremost and a foreign journalist second."

He again called on anyone with information that could help resolve the situation to come forward.

Reports earlier in the week said Johnston was in good health.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniya are those who have called for Johnston's return.

There has been a series of abductions of Westerners in the Gaza Strip where law and order has been a growing problem.

All were eventually released unharmed.

The motives for the abductions were mainly local - unpaid salaries, demands for jobs or the release of jailed family members.


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