Hamas pledges to work to free Johnston

Intensive negotiations are underway toward freeing kidnapped British journalist Alan Johnston, a senior Hamas official said Tuesday, hoping for results in the coming days. Ahmed Youssef, an aide to former Palestinian Authority prime minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, said the talks were underway with the Durmush family, a violent clan with its own militia, and he hoped "in the next 24 hours, either this man will be released or something will be done to solve this problem." He did not elaborate. "The government pledges it will do its best to make sure his release will be safe and soon," Youssef added.