Unknown gunmen have abducted a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist, identified as Alan Johnston, in Gaza city on Monday afternoon.
Local sources stated that a group of four unknown gunmen intercepted the car carrying Johnston in downtown Gaza city while he was on his way to work. The gunmen forced Johnston into their car then fled the scene. He has been working for the BBC in the Gaza Strip for over two years.
A car was found abandoned near Johnston’s Gaza City apartment. Police found the lease of the rental car, which stated that the vehicle was rented to the BBC, Palestinian security officials and Reuters stated.
The BBC bureau chief in Jerusalem, Simon Wilson, told the Israeli onlinenews website, Ynet, that his news network had lost contact with Johnston, but could not immediately confirm a kidnapping.
During the last several months similar cases involving the abduction of international journalists have taken place in the Gaza strip. The latest incident was the abduction of Jaime Razuri, 50, of Agence France Press, who was released on 7 January 2007. In all abduction cases no physical harm has been done to the abductees, and most incidents were related to individual groups and not resistance factions.
Palestinian police and security forces have announced a state of high alert, currently those forces are looking for a white Subaru car, in which eyewitnesses saw the gunmen abducting Johnston.