Learning English - Words in the News
04 July, 2007 - Published 15:59 GMT
Alan Johnston freed
Early this morning BBC correspondent Alan Johnston was released after nearly four months as a prisoner in Gaza. He was abducted by gunmen on March 12th and was held by a group calling itself the Army of Islam. These reports from Catherine Davis and Tim Franks:
At last, the moment family, friends and colleagues have been anxiously waiting for. After weeks of rumour, speculation and concern at the lack of concrete information Alan Johnston is finally free.
His disappearance on March 12th was widely condemned. Week after week, Palestinian journalists held protests on Alan's behalf. At one point they even went on strike, urging their government to do more to secure his release. And journalists elsewhere also drew attention to Alan's plight. There were vigils in Beijing, in Jakarta, in Brussels and in London. At the BBC offices in London, colleagues gathered every Monday to mark the exact moment Alan disappeared. A huge poster of him was unveiled in one of the city's main squares. More than sixty-five thousand people worldwide signed an online petition calling for him to be freed. And appeals were made at the highest levels.
In typical fashion, Alan Johnston expressed regret and gratitude. Regret that he'd put his parents on the west coast of Scotland through such destruction and gratitude at the level of support he'd received from people across the world. Alan described himself as extraordinarily fortunate. His ordeal of nearly four months is over.
the lack of concrete information
was widely condemned
went on strike
to secure his release
an online petition
regret and gratitude
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