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GAZA STRIP: Kidnapped Italian activist found dead; Hamas condemns rival radical group

Hours after an Islamist extremist group announced it had kidnapped an Italian peace activist in the Gaza Strip, the man's body was discovered in the restive seaside territory. It was the first kidnapping of a Westerner in four years and one of the few times such an abduction has ended fatally.

The hostage, Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist for the advocacy group the International Solidarity Movement, had appeared blindfolded in an Internet video released by the Tawhid and Jihad group, which threatened to kill him unless its imprisoned leader and two other members of radical groups were freed by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

The group set a deadline of Friday evening, but Arrigoni’s body was found by Hamas police well short of that, Hamas officials said. They said they had arrested two suspects and were searching for a third. Hamas said it "condemns the heinous crime that does not reflect our values, our religion or our custom and tradition," according to an Interior Ministry statement released to Palestinian news media.

But the kidnapping raised questions about Hamas' control over Gaza, and it represents the latest example of how smaller, more radical groups in the territory -– some with alleged ties to Al Qaeda -– are challenging the rule of Hamas, which itself is viewed by Israel and the United States as a terrorist organization.Those groups complain that Hamas has become too moderate.

Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, has been cracking down on Islamist Salafists over the last 18 months, arresting their members and killing one of their spiritual leaders during an armed clash in August 2009.

Gaza residents said Arrigoni arrived in 2009 aboard a ship challenging the Israeli naval blockade after the 2008-09 Israeli offensive in Gaza known as Operation Cast Lead. His abduction was the first of a foreigner since Hamas took control of the territory. The last foreigner kidnapped here was BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was abducted in March 2007 and released three months later.

-- Ahmed Aldabba in Gaza City

Comments () | Archives (17)

Woobie, you flaming lunatic. Since the end of the '67 War, the Palestinian population has quadrupled. They are the healthiest Arab society in the region, with the long life expectancies, low infant mortality rates, and the least amount of malnutrition.

Get a clue, Woobs. You're losing the PR battle not because the Joos run the media, but because your so-called numbers and facts are genuinely false and/or blatant half-truths.

Case in point is the amount of time you post your drivel on this website. What else could you be doing with your time? Not to give you any ideas, but there is such a thing as education, work, and general time mixing with society.

But stay in your basement. You belong there.

"xexon" sez:

"In light of this recent article, I must beg to differ....Both groups are denying this was their people. And it's exactly the kind of target Israel would like to have seen removed. He was an irritant. There is equal reason therefore to suspect this being a back ops kind of thing to stir things up and also send a message to the activist community. Who have been under increasing pressure lately."

Some people will go to any lengths to deny reality when it conflicts with their lunacy. "A black ops kind of thing" indeed! Your evidence for this? A gut feeling? Or voices in your head?


I think Palestinian and Israel conflict is a never ending problem. Palestine people should not target Israeli people and Israeli government they should not give support Hamas like terrorist groups. Israel also leave the Palestinian territory and both side have a peace talk in a peaceful manner then only this conflict will end otherwise this problem will continue for a long time and this might be the reason third world war in the future. Only peace talks can change their lives.

Yeah and Israel is so squeaky clean? huh?

“Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).”

1 Israeli is being held prisoner by Palestinians, while over 5,935 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel.

The "Softening Up" of Detainees Prior to Interrogation

The witnesses reported being subjected to beating, painful binding, swearing and humiliation and denial of basic needs at the hands of security forces personnel (IDF) from the moment of arrest until being transferred to the ISA.

About two thirds of the witnesses (49 of 73) reported that they had undergone at least one of these forms of abuse, which are defined by international law as ill-treatment and may reach the level of torture. This research did not examine the question whether this ill-treatment was intended to "soften up" the detainees for the ISA interrogations. It is, however, its practical outcome.

Leave it to the Israel obsessed MrEx to boldly go where only bold Israel bashing dolts dare to go.

Way to moderate your board, B&B.

Hamas said it "condemns the heinous crime that does not reflect our values, our religion or our custom and tradition.

No, Hamas shows it's values, religiosity, customs, and traditions by firing an anti-tank missile at a school bus full of kids.

Jewish kids are "fair game", along with any other civilians they can kill with their rockets, missiles and mortars.

How did he die? What constituted 'heinous' - beheading? disembowelment alive? throat slit? That will tell everyone a lot about these folks that even hamas can't control. Why didn't the author report how he was murdered?

Does it matter that he was a 'Westener' or and Israeli or fellow Arab? Do we keep separate 'head counts' for people depending upon their religion and place of origin? That says a lot about the author of this article.

Horrible it is indeed. But perspective, perspective.

The Salafists (first I’ve heard of them, but who am I?) are retail kidnappers. Israel kidnaps wholesale. Keep a comparative eye open, always. In a way, the siege of Gaza is a kidnapping (or cruel detention) of 1.5M people.

This authori is an appoligist for terrorists. The author differentiates between "Westeners" and Israelis, as if kidnapping Israelis or rival Arabs is OK, too. Then the author proceeds to minimize kidnapping by saying that most such kidnappings do not result in the death of the kidnapped victim - tell that to this victim's family, I'm sure they will find that reassurance very comforting.
There are so few kidnappings by Palestinians, but not for wnat of trying. Israel just arrested several Arabs for planning the kidnapping of at least three Israelis.
The there is 5 members of the Fogler family, no death associated with kidnapping there; Arabs just killed them on the spot without abducting them.

Under Western law, kidnapping was treated the same murder precisely because the most common outcome was the death of the kidnap victim.

The author is not an objective writer as these comments and asides minimizing the significance of what must have been a terrifying and fatal ordeal for this peace activity. NB it does not describe the mode of death.

Did these Arabs cut off his head while still alive or just slit his throat or disembowel him alive as they did the two Israeli reservists who accidently wandered into an Arab town? How he died tells us a lot about the kind of Arabs the peacemakers (and apparently Hamas) are confronting.

Hmmm... Pro-Palestinian Italian activist kidnapped and ransomed by rival group Tawheed & Jihad, then murdered (and video-taped) when Hamas doesn't release their bethren. Now, after a week of quiet and a self-declared Hamas ceasefire, two more rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel today.

Doesn't seem like Hamas has much control over either the extremists or militants within in their midst. I guess when Hamas spends so much time on terrorist rhetoric, including terrorist training and arms smuggling it's understandable when those groups may wind up biting the hand that supports it.

Regrettably, Vittorio Arrigoni’s murder by Palestinian militants serves to benefit extremists.
ISM promotes Palestinian human rights and freedom.
Rachel Corrie was murdered by Israelis, but the ISM continued its work.
The ISM people are brave people who are working for peace.
The Arab twits who murdered Arrigoni murdered a person who was trying to help.

In light of this recent article, I must beg to differ.

http://www.imemc.org/article/61068

Both groups are denying this was their people. And it's exactly the kind of target Israel would like to have seen removed. He was an irritant. There is equal reason therefore to suspect this being a back ops kind of thing to stir things up and also send a message to the activist community. Who have been under increasing pressure lately.

x

Where is Gideon Shalit, another kidnapping victim in Gaza, held by Hamas. This kidnapping and death can be attributed to Hamas because it believes that kidnapping and murder are legitimate tools of state. Worse than believing that, Hamas does kidnap and murder.

This story is not so good for Hamas' PR. They're supposed to be the innocent victims. It's like the story of the tortoise and the scorpion. The two were at a river bank and wanted to swim across. The scorpion, who was no swimmer, asked the tortoise to hitch a ride on his back. At first he said, "No you will sting me and I'll die." Then the scorpion explained how that can't happen because he would also drown. The tortoise consented and as soon as the two were half-way across the river, the scorpion plunged his stinger into the Tortoise's neck. As he was dying and sinking he said, "It doesn't make any sense! Now you are also going to die." The scorpion replied, "I know, I know. But I couldn't help it. It's my nature."

You play with the devil and you get burned.

Yes of course ... His abduction was the first of a foreigner since Hamas took control of the territory. The last foreigner kidnapped here was BBC reporter Alan Johnston, who was abducted in March 2007 and released three months later.

I guess the "Palestinians" are not quite ready for statehood after all.

They obviously haven't even worked out between themselves *which* terrorist group is going to be in charge yet...



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