Elior Levy, Reuters and AFP contributed to this report Ynet News
Vittorio Arrigoni after abductionThe body of an Italian pro-Palestinian activist abducted Thursday by Islamic extremists has been found hanged in a
The officials said Hamas police stormed an apartment in
The International Solidarity Movement had identified the kidnapped activist as Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, a member from
Arrigoni, a pacifist and blogger, had lived in the Gaza Strip for some time. Huwaida Arraf, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement, identified him as one of the group's members. Arrigoni had not been heard from in the past 24 hours, Arraf said.
Arrigoni in the Gaza Strip
The Italian foreign ministry "denounces in the strongest manner the act of vile and senseless violence committed by extremists who are indifferent to the value of human life," a statement said.
The ministry expressed "its deep horror over the barbaric murder and its most sincere condolences to the family."
Arrigoni's abduction was first kidnapping of a foreigner since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007. In the past, all foreign kidnap victims in
According to accounts,
A video released earlier Thursday night showed a man with a thick black blindfold and a large bruise on his face. Apparently seated, he was held in front of the camera by an unseen person
Video posted by kidnappers
In a message on the video, an extremist group calling itself "Monotheism and Holy War" demanded that Hamas free its leader, Sheikh Abu Walid-al-Maqdasi, who was arrested in early March; and two other members whose names had not been previously known. The Hamas government had no immediate reaction.
Early Friday, the group – beleaived to be affiliated with al-Qaeda – posted a statement on its website denying responsibility for the abduction.
Before the body was found, the Italian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was aware of the kidnapping, was in touch with Arrigoni's family and was taking steps to ensure his safety. "Foreign Minister Franco Frattini is in touch with diplomats in the country and is following the situation with great attention," the statement said.
'A heinous murder'Hamas' Interior Ministry called a special press conference following the recovery of the Italian peace activist's body in
The ministry denounced the act: "This is a heinous murder which does not represent our religion, values and costume," it said in a statement, adding the act "harms the Palestinian people's goals." Hamas police have launched a full inquiry in the case.
Hamas itself is a fundamentalist Islamic group, but it faces challenges from even more extremist offshoots of Islam, including Walid-al-Maqdasi's group, that take inspiration from al-Qaida and the world jihad movement. Hamas has denied that al-Qaeda has a presence in
Kidnappings of foreigners were common before the Hamas takeover. Most of those abducted were foreign correspondents, including Alan Johnston of the BBC, who was abducted and held for 114 days before being freed in July 2007, just after Hamas overran Gaza, expelling forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
ISM operates in the West Bank and
The ISM incident that got the most attention was the 2003 death of American activist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by an Israeli military bulldozer in southern
'Fighting an occupation is in my DNA'Since his murder, online videos of an interview Arrigoni held earlier this year have surfaced on the internet.
"I arrived in
Arrigoni said he came from a family of partisans. "My grandfathers died fighting an occupation, another occupation, the Nazi-fascist occupation in
Arrigoni said that there are people who are willing to devote their lives to support the people in
He said that he and his friends came to
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|Filed under Hamas, Palestinian, Gaza on Monday, April 18, 2011 by Author: Admin.|