It was announced that an envoy of the British Muslim Council would travel to the Middle East to seek their release. However, DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that officers of the British secret service MI6, who are stationed in Rafah, were in constant negotiations with the abductors who demanded a hefty sum in ransom. They therefore knew exactly who they were, the Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades’ Black Panthers represented by their leader Nidal An-Najar.
For London, paying out ransom to Palestinian terrorist kidnappers was a hard pill to swallow. This problem was overcome when the Palestinian Authority offered to front for the British and hand over the agreed sum. This made it possible to wind up the negotiations and obtain the Burtons’ freedom.