2 suspects in Gaza activist's slaying killed in shootout

Third suspect wounded after gunfight with Hamas forces at building where they were hiding; Jordanian national among those arrested.

By REUTERS
April 19, 2011 19:04
1 minute read.
Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni

Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

 
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Two of the main suspects in the killing of a pro-Palestinian Italian activist in the Gaza Strip were killed during a raid by Hamas security forces seeking to detain them, a security official said.

A third was wounded, the official added. Three of their associates, part of the same group of al Qaida sympathizers, were arrested in the raid at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

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Earlier, the security forces exchanged gunfire with the suspected killers during an operation to capture the fugitives, a security source and witnesses said.

The gunfight in the Nuseirat refugee camp was briefly interrupted by an attempt to negotiate the surrender of the al Qaida sympathizers believed to have killed Vittorio Arrigoni, who was found strangled on Friday.

The talks failed and an explosion was heard as shooting resumed between the Hamas forces and the gunmen who were holed up in a four-story building in Nuseirat, a refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-run Gaza Interior Ministry declared the area a closed security zone and blocked roads leading to the scene. "The operation is under way," a security official said.

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The radical Islamists had abducted Arrigoni on Thursday and threatened to execute him unless their leader, detained by Hamas last month, was freed.

The Interior Ministry had posted pictures on its website of three suspects sought in the killing. A security source said they included a Jordanian national.

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