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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 03:37 GMT 04:37 UK
Timeline: Alan Johnston abduction
Alan Johnston
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BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released after four months in captivity. The only international correspondent still working in the lawless Gaza Strip, he had been kidnapped on his way home from his Gaza City office on 12 March.


Alan Johnston is freed and handed to Hamas officials in Gaza. He thanked all those who had called for his release and said he had been in the hands of "dangerous and unpredictable" people.

4 July


Hamas security forces in Gaza seize several members of the Army of Islam - the group which claims to have abducted Alan Johnston. Hamas says the arrests were made after "all negotiation attempts... failed" to free the reporter. BBC employees hold a rally to mark the 16th week of Mr Johnston's disappearance.

2 July


The captors of Alan Johnston release a new video of him in which he is wearing what he says is an explosives vest. In Gaza, victorious Hamas vows to use force to free the reporter if demands for his immediate release are not met. The UK government says the development is "disturbing". BBC staff mark his 100th day in captivity with a worldwide vigil.

24 June

20 June 18 June


Hamas says it has sent a message to the kidnappers of Alan Johnston and is taking "practical steps to secure his release". In Britain, the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, holds a special service to mark the passing of three months since the abduction. Meanwhile unprecedented violence breaks out on the streets of Gaza, as Hamas gunmen oust the pro-Fatah security forces.

15 June

11 June


The BBC News website highlights the plight of Alan Johnston at an annual Webby Awards ceremony in New York, saying: "Alan, we're thinking of you."


A video is released on the internet showing the first pictures of Alan Johnston since his abduction. In it, he says he is healthy and being treated well but it is unclear where and when it was recorded. The Quartet of Middle East mediators - the US, Russia, the UN and the EU - calls for the release of Mr Johnston, urging the Palestinian Authority to do everything it can to ensure his release.

1 June

31 May 29 May


A Palestinian government spokesman and member of the militant Hamas party says Alan Johnston alive and safe. There is no way to confirm Ghazi Hamad's statement, nor his assertion that the reporter "could be freed soon". Meanwhile, signatories of an online petition calling for Alan's release pass the 100,000 mark.

27 May

21 May


Palestinians in the UK hold a day of solidarity to highlight Mr Johnston's plight and call for his immediate release. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini condemns the kidnapping, in the first official comments from Tehran since Mr Johnston was abducted. As well as the usual series of Monday vigils, special celebrations are held on Thursday to mark Alan's 45th birthday.

17 May

14 May 13 May


A video tape purporting to be from Mr Johnston's kidnappers is sent to al-Jazeera TV. The tape, from a group calling itself Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam), contains no new images of him, but does include a picture of his BBC identity card. The British consul-general in Jerusalem meets the Palestinian prime minister and tells him Mr Johnston's continued captivity remains of "great concern" to the UK. The UN Commissioner for Human Rights says she is extremely distressed by the abduction. Rallies are held around the world in support of Mr Johnston, to coincide with World Press Freedom Day.

10 May

9 May 8 May 7 May 7 May 7 May 4 May


Palestinian leaders tell European Parliament members that Mr Johnston is alive, while Palestinian PM Ismail Haniya says he is working hard for his release. Britain's Tony Blair says the UK is doing all it can, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon adds his voice to the campaign. The BBC's veteran radio presenter, John Humphrys, receiving an award for news journalist of the year, says correspondents like Mr Johnston deserved the award more. Rallies are held as far afield as Beijing and Jakarta on World Press Freedom Day.

3 May

2 May 1 May 30 April


The seventh week of Alan Johnston's abduction begins with vigils across the UK calling for his safe return. Christian, Muslim and Jewish representatives gather at St Martin in the Fields, a well-known London church, and Alan's sister, Katriona Johnston, joins BBC Scotland staff for a vigil in Glasgow. In Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, local journalists and foreign correspondents protest to demand the correspondent's release. Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Azzam al-Ahmad says he believes Mr Johnston is in "good health". The EU reiterates calls for his release.

26 April

25 April 24 April 23 April


Anxiety about Alan Johnston's wellbeing hits a peak after the unknown militant group, the Tawhid and Jihad Brigades, claims to have killed him to highlight the plight of Palestinian detainees held by Israel. The BBC says it is unable to substantiate the claim and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says his security forces have confirmed Mr Johnston is alive.

22 April

20 April 19 April 18 April 17 April 16 April


Efforts to secure Alan Johnston's release continue in the complete absence of concrete information as to his whereabouts. Calls reach a crescendo as one month passes since his disappearance, with rival broadcasters coming together for a joint programme hosted in Ramallah. But the week ends with a shocking claim by a militant group that it has killed him.

15 April

14 April 12 April 11 April 9 April


There is still no clear picture of who might be holding Alan Johnston, where or why, four weeks after he went missing. Thousands of people around the world sign a petition calling for his release.

8 April

6 April 5 April 4 April 2 April:


Frustration on the ground increases in the third week of Alan Johnston's disappearance. Palestinian journalists voice anger at their government and presidency for their perceived lack of effort on behalf of the missing correspondent. There is still no statement from any kidnappers nor any talk of a ransom.

1 April:

31 March: 29 March: 26 March:


Intense efforts are undertaken to secure Alan Johnston's release, amid increasing concern for his safety. Monday rallies, the day of his disappearance, become a feature in the Palestinian territories and outside BBC offices and bureaux.

25 March:

24 March: 23 March: 22 March: 20 March: 19 March:


Alan Johnston's car is found abandoned in Gaza City shortly after he left his office to drive home. The BBC says it is concerned for his safety but cannot confirm Palestinian reports that he had been kidnapped. After several days it becomes clear it is more serious than past Gaza kidnappings, when hostages have been released unharmed after just a few hours or days.

17 March:

15 March: 13 March: 12 March:

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