Hamas officials say the body of kidnapped International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Victor Arrigoni was found early Friday by police in Gaza. He had been hanged.
An al Qaida-inspired terrorist organization called Tawhid and Jihad announced Thursday that it had kidnapped "Victor, an Italian journalist." The group said it would kill him unless the Hamas regime in Gaza released imprisoned jihadists including Sheikh Abu Walid al-Maqdasi, arrested by Hamas police in Gaza last month.
Tawhid and Jihad released a video showing Arrigoni blindfolded and being held by the hair. He had a large bruise or blood beneath his right eye. An Arabic-language message accompanying the footage of Arrigoni said "the Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption" and denounced Italy as "the infidel state."
The group subsequently denied involvement with Arrigoni's abduction and murder.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum claimed Israel was behind the slaying in hopes of stopping the next aid flotilla aimed at ending the Israeli naval blockade imposed to prevent weapons smuggling to terrorists in Gaza.
The ISM announced that Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were holding rallies commemorating Arrigoni's anti-Israel activism. It said that for the past two and a half years, Arrigoni was in Gaza monitoring Israeli "human rights violations" for ISM, that he was arrested numerous times by Israel, and that he was an advocate of sanctions against the Jewish State.
Inge Neefs of ISM Gaza said most Palestinians do not support the extremists who kidnapped Arrigoni and should not be blamed for the crime.
"It's unbelievable," said ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf. Arrigoni "was more Palestinian than the criminals that killed him."