Source Pravda.Ru

BBC TV reporter kidnapped in Gaza

Masked Palestinian gunmen kidnapped a BBC reporter from his car in Gaza City on Monday, Palestinian security officials said.

The man threw a business card on the street that identified him as Alan Johnston of the BBC, officials said.

The BBC bureau chief in Jerusalem, Simon Wilson, said his news network had lost contact with Johnston but Wilson could not immediately confirm a kidnapping.

Security sources said four gunmen carried out the kidnapping, and that a car was found abandoned near Johnston's Gaza City apartment. Police found the lease of the rental car, which stated the vehicle was rented to the BBC.

The news network said Johnston was from Scotland and has been reporting from Gaza for the past three years.

More than a dozen foreign journalists and aid workers have been abducted in Gaza, an area plagued by crime, political violence and lawlessness. Most of the kidnappings have been carried out by gunmen seeking favors from the government or trying to settle scores with rivals.

In most cases, victims have been released unharmed within hours. An exception was the abduction of two Fox News employees last summer who were held for two weeks, prompting many foreign journalists to shy from entering Gaza, reports AP.

The last foreigner taken hostage was Jaime Razuri, 50, a Peruvian photographer with the French news agency, who was abducted at gunpoint on Jan. 1 and released a week later.

In October, AP photographer Emilio Morenatti was abducted in Gaza City and freed unharmed after 15 hours.

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