Alan Johnston video released

A video has appeared on the internet which appears to show kidnapped BBC correspondent Alan Johnston alive and well.

The Ramattan news agency said it received the recording from the Army of Islam, the Palestinian group believed to be holding Mr Johnston.

In the video, Johnston says he is in good health and that his captors have treated him well.

The BBC said it was studying the video carefully and repeated its call for the immediate release of Johnston.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, on his visit to South Africa, said: “I feel deeply for Alan Johnston and his family. We are doing everything we possibly can do to secure his release.”

Chancellor Gordon Brown called on those holding the reporter to free him “as a matter of urgency” as they were “not serving their cause by detaining him in this unfair and unjust way”.

Mr Johnston, 45, was kidnapped in Gaza City on March 12.

In the video Johnston called for the lifting of international sanctions against the Palestinian government.

Johnston spoke of the suffering Gazans have endured and asked for a lifting of sanctions imposed in an effort to put pressure on the Palestinian government to recognise Israel’s right to exist and renounce violence. He was shown from the waist up, wearing what looked like a red sweatshirt.

Johnston directly criticised the British Government’s foreign policy in the video, saying it was “completely to blame” for the problems in Iraq. He said: “In all this we can see the British Government endlessly working to occupy Muslim lands against the will of the people in those places.

“From history, the British worked to bring about the state of Israel which is the cause of all the suffering of the Palestinian people. We the British are completely to blame along with the Americans for the situation in Iraq, and the British are the main force in Afghanistan causing all the trouble to all the simple Afghans who simply want to live.”

As he started talking about directing a message to his family the video was cut and the screen flashed up a sign saying “BBC refused to take this message to his family”.

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