The word on the street in Gaza is that no Palestinian group there has taken him. Johnston it seems had been reporting from the Gaza for some three years and was well known for his sympathetic attitude toward the Palestinians plight and is well liked by his Palestinian journalist colleagues who have rallied for his release.
Johnston was soon to finish his three year stint in the Gaza and was in the midst of preparing his final report from Gaza when was kidnapped. During his time there he had nurtured a working relationship with both Fatah and Hamas documenting and observing how their relationship had evolved. He had also witnessed the settlement withdrawals and the aftermath of the Israeli incursions into the Gaza after the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
There are several reports about who has been responsible for Johnston’s abduction with one report on 2 April 2007 in the UKs Independent newspaper claiming that Johnston was kidnapped by a criminal family, the report indicating that his kidnapping was for either purely criminal reasons or carried out as part of a ‘contract’ on behalf of a third party. However, by the 15 April 2007 the Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva were reporting that a group calling themselves the ‘The Brigades of Tawheed and Jihad’, a group that is claimed to have links with ‘al Qaeda’, had claimed that Johnston had been executed in protest at the way Israel are holding their prisoners. But on the same day Timesonline reported that the kidnappers were demanding the release of ‘an Iraqi woman who tried to blow herself up during the bombing of a wedding reception in Jordan in 2005’.
It’s interesting that the ‘Taweed and Jihad’ and ‘al Qadea’ link be made here especially by the right-wing religious Zionist-supporting Arutz Sheva media group. The only other time that ‘al Qadea’ has been linked to Palestinan resistance groups was when it was found that they were in fact Israeli stooges posing as ‘al Qadea’ in the Gaza.
In recent months the special forces group of the IDF, the Sayeret Duvdevan, have been exposed operating in the West Bank and Gaza. Could it be that Israel have used their special forces to pull this terrifying stunt against a journalist who wasn’t exactly reporting in the best interests of Israel? After all, it’s not as though it’s the first time that Israel has murdered journalists they didn’t like.