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Captive journalist appears in video

BBC correspondent warns against a rescue attempt by force.

June 25, 2007|From the Associated Press

GAZA CITY — A new video recording released today shows kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston wearing an apparent explosives belt and warning that it will be detonated if an attempt is made to free him by force.

The video, 1 minute, 42 seconds long, was posted on a website that has been used by militant groups. It opens with the title "Alan's Appeal" in English and Arabic and features the logo of the Army of Islam, a group with apparent Al Qaeda links that has claimed responsibility for snatching the BBC correspondent in Gaza City more than three months ago.

"Captors tell me that very promising negotiations were ruined when the Hamas movement and the British government decided to press for a military solution to this kidnapping," Johnston says in the recording, looking nervous and stressed. "And the situation is now very serious, as you can see."

Johnston is seen with a blue and white checked vest strapped around his body -- the apparent bomb belt.

He is standing and shaking his head as he speaks. Light enters the room from above, and an Arabic translation is provided on the screen. Nobody else appears in the video.

There was no immediate comment from the BBC or the British government.

Johnston's captors have previously said they want a Palestinian militant jailed in Britain to be released in exchange for the journalist.

Johnston appeared in a video posted on another website June 1. In that tape, he appeared calm and said his captors had treated him well.

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