GAZA - A Gaza military court convicted four Palestinians on Monday for kidnapping and murdering an Italian man in 2011, a case that shocked Palestinian sympathizers around the world.

Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist, was abducted by a Jihadist Salafi faction, which shares the radical ideology of al Qaeda and is a rival of the Hamas Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

The group had hoped to force Hamas to release a Salafist leader, Hisham al-Saidni. Hamas police said the kidnappers killed Arrigoni before a deadline they had set for Saidni's release had expired.

Arriogni's killing horrified international pro-Palestinian activists and tested Hamas's authority in the enclave, which it seized from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's allies in a brief civil war in 2007.

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