Media Blog

Not a Very Nice House Guest

The Times of London is reporting al Qaeda ties to the kidnapping of Alan Johnston:

THE mastermind behind the kidnapping of Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondent, is an experienced terrorist who fought with Al-Qaeda alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan.
He can be named for the first time today as Qattab al-Maqdesy, a native of Gaza who is in his late thirties.
Johnston, who arrived back in Britain yesterday to be reunited with his parents in Argyll, was held for 114 days in Gaza before being freed last week.
Al-Maqdesy was himself seized by Hamas, the militant Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, as part of the process that led to the BBC reporter’s release. […]
The deal for Johnston’s release, agreed between Hamas and the Army of Islam, freed al-Maqdesy and allowed the Dagmoush family to retain their large arsenal, which includes shoulder-launched grenades, and an amnesty for those involved in the kidnap.

And something a little lighter from the article above:

The kidnappers expressed bizarre resentment that Johnston, 45, had done nothing to thank them for their hospitality while they held him at gunpoint in a tiny cell.
“We used to give him everything he wanted,” Abu Zobayer, an aide to Dagmoush, said.
“We spent £70 on his food every week. The Matouk restaurant [one of the best eateries in Gaza] got rich because we had to feed him.”
Johnston has said that he fell ill from the food he was served. Zobayer commented: “It’s not our problem that we gave him everything and he only ate a little.”
Although they did not torture him physically, the kidnappers seemed to have no concept of the psychological torture they were inflicting on the BBC correspondent.
“We had people with him all the time to try to help him to relax,” said Zobayer.
“We gave him a radio so that he could listen to his own channel. I myself sat with him to try to make him feel comfortable and feel that he will be released.”

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