Italian hostage found murdered in Gaza


ROME (JTA) — Palestinian Islamic extremists killed an Italian pro-Palestinian activist they had kidnapped him in Gaza.

Gaza police on Friday found the hanged body of Vittorio Arrigoni when they stormed the apartment in Gaza City where he was being held. Arrigoni had been kidnapped the day before.

Hours earlier his kidnappers, a group inspired by al-Qaida calling itself Monotheism and Holy War, had posted a video showing Arrigoni, 36, blindfolded and with cuts on his face. His head was held up in front of the camera by a hand gripping his hair.

Israeli media reported that Hamas officials had arrested two men in their investigation of the killing and were searching for others.

Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano called the killing an act of "terrorist barbarism," and the Italian Foreign Ministry branded it a "vile and irrational gesture of violence on the part of extremists indifferent to the value of a human life."

Arrigoni had lived in Gaza for several years working with the International Solidarity Movement, which is described on its website as a "Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli apartheid in Palestine by using nonviolent, direct-action methods and principles."

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