Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Radical Islamic terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip distanced themselves from the kidnapping and murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, who was found dead early Friday morning in the Strip.
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Among the groups who disclaimed the attack was Tawhid wal-Jihad, the al-Qaida-linked group that had initially said it was holding the Italian national and said they would only release him if their own leader, recently arrested by Hamas, was released, Gaza-based newspaper Palestine Today reported.
Hamas also condemned the killing, saying that it was a shameful act,
contrary to the tradition of the Palestinian people. Hamas spokesman
Fawzi Barhoum said that the "goal of this depraved band of outlaws was
to spread chaos and anarchy in the Gaza Strip, a desperate attempt to
strike at the stable security situation."
He added that the kidnapping and murder of Arrigoni was intended to
prevent the next flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip, expected to depart
next month. Barhoum explained that he believed the murder was meant to
dissuade other foreign activists from arriving in the Strip.
Accordingly, Hamas accused Israel of being behind the attack, noting
that Arrigoni had often spoken out against Israeli policies in Gaza,
going so far as to compare what he called "Israeli crimes against
Palestinians" to Nazi crimes. Additionally, he was twice arrested by
Security personnel in the Gaza Strip found Arrigoni's body in an
abandoned house in the Gaza Strip following his abduction by terrorists, a
Hamas official said on Friday.
Two men were arrested and others were being sought in the killing of Vittorio Arrigoni, the Hamas official added.
A Jihadist Salafi group in Gaza aligned with al-Qaida had threatened on
Thursday to execute Arrigoni by 5 p.m. local time (2 p.m. GMT) unless
their leader, arrested by Hamas last month, was freed.