Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist held hostage in the Gaza Strip, was freed July 4 after a deal between the ruling Hamas Islamists and the al Qaeda-inspired clan group that kidnapped him in March. Local Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, whose movement routed the forces of the secular, Western-backed Palestinian president last month to seize full control of the coastal enclave, said after the end of Johnston’s 114-day ordeal at the hands of the shadowy Army of Islam the outcome “confirms (Hamas) is serious in imposing security and stability.” (Reuters)

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