UK takes Johnston case to Palestinian PM

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A representative of the British embassy in Jerusalem is to meet with the Palestinian prime minister to discuss the fate of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston.

The Foreign Office released a statement this morning confirming that the British consul general would meet with Ismael Haniyeh to discuss the "kidnap" of Mr Johnston later today.

Palestinian militants are thought to be behind the suspected abduction of the 44-year-old, who went missing on March 12th in the Gaza Strip.

Although western journalists have previously been kidnapped in Gaza they had previously always been released within a fortnight. Mr Johnston has now been missing for 24 days.

Mr Johnston was one of the few remaining western journalists reporting on the daily lives of Palestinians living in the troubled territory. His case prompted 300 of the world's best-known journalists and reporters to call for his release in a full-page advertisement in Monday's Media Guardian newspaper.

Analysts have suggested that attempts by the Palestinian Authority to convince the kidnappers to release Mr Johnston through backwater channels may have been restricted by domestic political concerns, however.

They believe past efforts could have been inhibited by concerns that the incident could again flare up recent internecine conflict between rival Palestinian factions.

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