JERUSALEM (AP) – The first night after he was snatched in Gaza nearly four months ago, BBC reporter Alan Johnston feared he was about to die. The kidnappers’ leader appeared in the doorway, and moments later the prisoner was handcuffed, hooded and taken outside.

But the Palestinian gunmen were just moving him to another hideout, and Johnston settled into a grim captivity, much of which he spent in a dark room, often watched over by a guard who rarely spoke but was prone to flying into rages.

Until his release before dawn early Wednesday in a murky deal between his kidnappers and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, Johnston said he had only one link to the world – a radio that picked up British Broadcasting Corp. reports on the frantic efforts to free its correspondent.

Johnston was grabbed masked gunmen March 12.

shoved into a car and spirited away.