Italian Activist Abducted In Gaza Strip 'Found Dead'

by
Jackson
An Italian pro-Palestinian activist has been found dead in the Gaza Strip hours after being abducted, security sources in the Hamas-governed territory say.

n this August 29, 2008 file photo, international activist Vittorio Utmpio Arrigoni, from Italy, holds his passport during a protest against the Israeli siege on Gaza, in Gaza City. A pro-Palestinian group said Thursday April 14, 2011 that Arrigoni, 36, has apparently been kidnapped by Islamic militants in Gaza. It would be the first kidnapping of a foreigner since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007. A video claiming to show the victim emerged from Gaza along with a demand by an extremist group to the Hamas government to release its leader, who was arrested last month.

An Italian pro-Palestinian activist has been found dead in the Gaza Strip hours after being abducted, security sources in the Hamas-governed territory say.

Vittorio Arrigoni was seized by a radical Islamic group on Thursday morning and video of him blindfolded with tape was later posted on YouTube.

Hamas police reportedly found his dead body inside a house.

Mr Arrigoni was the first foreigner kidnapped in Gaza since BBC journalist Alan Johnston was snatched in 2007.

Italian consular officials earlier confirmed that he had been abducted.

It is thought he was kidnapped by Salafist radicals, who have often been in conflict with Hamas, the BBC's Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison says.

International activist Vittorio Arrigoni holds medical aid at Gaza seaport in this October 29, 2008 file picture. A Jihadist group in the Gaza Strip aligned with al Qaeda threatened on April 14, 2011 to execute the abducted Italian it is holding within hours, unless Hamas Islamists release the group's leader. A You Tube clip the group posted on Thursday said Arrigoni would be killed on Friday at 5 p.m. local time (1400 GMT) unless Hamas releases Hesham al-Sa'eedni, whom it detained last month.

They consider Hamas, an Islamist movement itself, too moderate, our correspondent says.

In the video posted on YouTube, the kidnappers demand that Hamas release a number of Salafist prisoners.

Mr Arrigoni's eyes are covered with what looks like thick black tape.

The Italian man had been in Gaza for several years.

Hamas had been credited with eliminating the threat of kidnapping in Gaza until his abduction.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008 file photo, international activist Vittorio Utmpio Arrigoni, from Italy, carries an aid box from the "Free Gaza" boat after its arrival at the Gaza port, in Gaza city. A pro-Palestinian group said Thursday April 14, 2011 that Arrigoni, 36, has apparently been kidnapped by Islamic militants in Gaza. It would be the first kidnapping of a foreigner since Hamas overran Gaza in 2007. A video claiming to show the victim emerged from Gaza along with a demand by an extremist group to the Hamas government to release its leader, who was arrested last month.

BBC