International Solidarity Movement activist Vittorio Arrigoni was kidnapped in Gaza today. News sources in the Gaza Strip say that the kidnappers are members of a Salafi group. In a YouTube video, the group threatens to kill Arrigoni in 30 hours, counting from 11 AM in Gaza (10 AM in Italy), if the Hamas government does not free Salafi detainees.
The first report, citing unnamed sources in the Gaza media, mentioned that three armed men kidnapped Arrigoni in Gaza City.
An Italian Foreign Ministry official, contacted by PeaceReporter, stated that a crisis unit is verifying the authenticity of the YouTube video. The news came to the foreign ministry through media sources. No other news about Arrigoni is available.
Saad Nimer, a spokesperson for Marwan Barghouti, an imprisoned Palestinian leader, told PeaceReporter: "I am shocked and disturbed. Who can possibly be interested in kidnapping an Italian solidarity activist who is working in a difficult environment like Gaza? Stupid, really stupid. We will immediately take action to figure out what happened and why."
Sheikh al-Saidani (also known as Abu Walid al-Maqdisi), the foremost among the detainees whose release the Gazan Salafi kidnappers of Arrigoni are demanding, is the leader of Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad, a Salafist formation devoted to "jihad" (sacred war to the bitter end) and in support of Al Qaeda. Egyptian by birth, he was arrested a little over a month ago by the Egyptian security service1 on account of his alleged involvement in a series of attacks. According to Haaretz, in April 2006, Maqdisi's group claimed responsibility for the attacks on hotels in Sinai, Egypt in which 19 people were killed. The Israeli newspaper maintains that Hamas is on the highest state of alert for fear of retaliation by the sheikh's supporters.
All the PeaceReporter editorial team members are committed to keeping in mind Vittorio's signature
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