Kidnapped BBC Correspondent Returns Home

World | July 7, 2007, Saturday // 00:00

BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was abducted in Gaza almost four months ago and released earlier this week, has returned to the UK on Saturday.

Johnston, who was handed over to officials of the Hamas administration on Wednesday, arrived at London's Heathrow airport, from where he would leave for Scotland to rejoin his family.

Rallies were staged all over the world calling for his speedy release, while an online petition has been signed by more than 200,000 people.

The responsibility for the abduction was taken by a Palestinian group, called Army of Islam, which released two videos that showed Johnston first saying he feels good and then girded with an explosive belt.

His captors demanded the release of Abu Qatada, a Palestinian-born Islamic cleric, who is supposed to have close links to al-Qaeda and is currently held by the UK government.

Alan Johnston was abducted from his car by four masked gunmen in Gaza on March 12.

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