A Gaza group said to be close to Islamist terror organization Al Qaeda has published a flyer claiming that it has executed British Broadcasting Corporation reporter Alan Johnston. There is no confirmation of the claim. An organization calling itself "The Battalions of Jihad and Tawheed in Palestine" says that it intends to release a video of the execution soon.

The announcement makes a connection between Johnston's kidnapping and the jailing of convicted Arab terrorists from Judea, Samaria and Gaza in Israel. It blames the world for not caring about the Arab prisoners and explains that the world "wanted a bloodstained message in order to understand it."

No other Gaza organization or terror gang has confirmed the report, no proof of its truth has been offered, and the only source for it is the flyer.

Johnston's car was found abandoned on a street on March 12, 2007, shortly after he left his office to drive home. A business card belonging to Johnston was found at the scene, identifying him as having been in the car. Johnston had been stationed in Gaza for three years.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the kidnapping, vowing to "bring the criminals to justice." The Foreign Press Association issued an appeal for Johnston's release, as did both Hamas and Fatah. Local Arab journalists held a rally outside Gaza's parliament in protest of the kidnapping. Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti attended the rally and said: "We are opposed to the kidnapping of foreign journalists who serve the Palestinian cause."

On April 2 more than three hundred journalists held a demonstration in Gaza with their mouths gagged. Another such protest was held in Ramallah in front of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' office.

A long list of people and organizations have called for Johnston's release or tried to bring it about, including Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, Amnesty International, Britain's Consul-General in Jerusalem, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Three hundred top British media personalities signed an advertisement to this effect, that was published in The Guardian.

The BBC news website created an online petition which has been signed by 12,000 people. On April 12, a full month after Johnston's disappearance, the BBC held an Alan Johnston Day of Action with events in London, Scotland and the PA. BBC World, BBC News 24, Al Jazeera English and Sky News agreed to simulcast a special program dedicated to Johnston. Al Jazeera used its portion of the program to blame Israel for ongoing violence between Fatah and Hamas and between local clans in Gaza.