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Israeli soldiers should also be freed

Millions justifiably rejoiced at the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, kidnapped by Palestinians inGaza and held for 114 days.

Johnston likened his imprisonment to being "buried alive," and was fearful he would be forgotten as the world went about its business. Thanks to widespread rallies and petitions, his ordeal is now over.

But the world has paid little attention to a more tragic victim, a young Israeli soldier kidnapped in an unprovoked attack on Israeli soil by Hamas and its allies, and held incommunicado for 12 months, unvisited by the Red Cross. Like the journalist, he has a name: Gilad Shalit, age 19. Asked about his condition, then-Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh responded, "He sends his regards."

Two other Israeli soldiers were similarly kidnapped from Israeli soil by Hezbollah, and have been held with no outside contact for a year. They, too, have names: Eldad Regev, 26, and Ehud Goldwasser, 31.

No doubt Johnston, the BBC and Amnesty International, which took a special interest in Johnston's plight, will work tirelessly for the soldiers to be freed as well.

RICHARD S. LAUB

Williamsville

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