updated 5/27/2007 3:51:39 PM ET 2007-05-27T19:51:39

A British Broadcasting Corp. journalist kidnapped in Gaza is alive and well and could soon be released, a Palestinian government spokesman said.

Speaking at a literary festival in Wales on Saturday, Hamas government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said he knew the “small group” holding Alan Johnston and was personally involved in negotiations to free him.

“I know that he is well and healthy, and in a good situation. No one has tried to harm him or hurt him,” Hamad said.

Hamad said he hoped efforts to release Johnston would bear fruit “very, very soon.”

Johnston, 45, was kidnapped March 12 in Gaza City by Palestinian gunmen. His disappearance is the longest of any Western journalist abducted in Gaza and has sparked numerous protests and solidarity marches in London and the Palestinian territories.

Hamad said he had “a lot” of information about the situation, but was not authorized to elaborate, saying a breakthrough could be made soon.

The British government said it would not make any deals to secure Johnston’s release.

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