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Palestinian President: Location of Kidnapped British Reporter Known


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says security forces know the location of a kidnapped British reporter but fear a rescue operation could endanger his life.

Mr. Abbas said Wednesday officials know where BBC reporter Alan Johnston is being held hostage and he is working to find a safe way to end his detention.

In Gaza City, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said negotiators have persuaded Johnston's captors to drop some of their demands.

Palestinian security official Rashid Abu Shbak said Tuesday his forces know the identity of Johnston's kidnappers. But the official said Britain has asked Palestinian authorities not to mount a rescue operation out of fear it could endanger Johnston's safety.

Johnston was the only Western reporter permanently based in the Gaza Strip at the time of his abduction. Nothing has been heard from him since he was kidnapped on March 12.

A previously unknown Palestinian militant group, calling itself The Brigades of Tawheed and Jihad, said last month it had killed him.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says 14 journalists have been abducted in Gaza since 2004. It says all the other journalists were released unharmed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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