Further Update: Stratfor is now reporting that Vittorio Arrigoni was actually killed twelve hours before the deadline expired.
The Salafist organization was under extreme pressure from Hamas, and may have killed the hostage and abandoned the body just before Hamas security forces closed in on their location.
Update: Vittorio Arrigoni was killed by his captors after the deadline expired. According to The Jerusalem Post:
Kidnapped Italian activist found dead in Gaza
Gaza — Security officials found the body of an Italian man who had been abducted in the Gaza Strip in an abandoned house overnight Thursday, a Hamas security official said.
Two men were arrested and others were being sought.
The Arabic text that accompanied the footage of Arrigoni also said “the Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption” and it described Italy as “the infidel state”.
Arrigoni is the first foreign national to be abducted in the Gaza Strip since BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was held for 114 days by an al Qaida-inspired clan group named the Army of Islam. He was released in 2007.
Arrigoni came to the Gaza Strip on a boat bringing humanitarian supplies in 2008.
An Italian aid worker named Vittorio Arrigoni was kidnapped in Gaza today, and the group that is holding him says it will kill him if its demands are not met within thirty hours.
There are a couple of interesting twists to this incident. The group that kidnapped Mr. Arrigoni, A-Tawheed wal Jihad, is described as “Salafist”, but it is not part of Hamas. In fact, its demands include the release of members of A-Tawheed wal Jihad that are being held prisoner by the Hamas “government”.
For added irony: Vittorio Arrigoni is an Italian Communist who has been working in Gaza for several years in solidarity with the Palestinians, and decries Israeli oppression. It will be interesting to see how the MSM dances its way around this one.
The video below was posted on YouTube by the kidnappers, and shows the blindfolded hostage with a hand holding him by the hair. Vlad Tepes has moved the clip to a different host in anticipation of its being taken down by YouTube.
Gaza: Italian Volunteer Kidnapped by Salafis
Gaza, April 14 — An Italian voluntary worker, Vittorio Arrigoni, was kidnapped today in Gaza by a Salafite Islamic group. In a video published on YouTube the group has threatened to kill him if the Hamas government does not release Salafite prisoners within 30 hours after 11am today local time (10 am in Italy). The news was reported by press sources in Gaza.
Also from ANSAmed:
Gaza: Video Kidnapped Italian on YouTube
Rome, April 14 — Vittorio Arrigoni, kidnapped in Gaza by an Islamic Salafite group, has appeared blindfolded and with clear marks of violence in a video posted today on YouTube by ‘ThisisGazaVoice’.
The Italian voluntary worker wears a black shirt in the video and seems to have his hands tied behind his back, while someone is holding his head by his hair. Traces of blood can be seen coming from under the black blindfold that covers his eyes. The only sound heard in the video is music; a text is superimposed: “The people of Gaza are sorry for what these bigots have done to Vittorio. We are certain that he will soon be released”. After the video, text in Arabic is shown with today’s date.
From Israel National News:
Gazans Abduct Italian ISM Activist
Salafist Muslims in Gaza have kidnapped Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian member of the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Bethlehem-based Ma’an News reported Thursday.
The kidnappers belong to A-Tawheed wal Jihad, a terror group of the Salafist Muslim stream. They have released a video showing Arrigoni bruised, tied and blindfolded, and text scrolling across the screen “threatens that he will die unless Hamas releases Salafist prisoners by 5 p.m. Friday.”
The organization wants Hamas to release all of the members of their organization who are currently jailed. Topping the list is a senior member of the group, Hisham al-Sa’adi.
Sources in Gaza told Voice of Israel state-run radio that Arrigoni has been living in Gaza for several years after arriving there on one of the Free Gaza boats.
Arrigoni writes a blog for Guerrilla Radio and for communist newspaper Il Manifesto. During Israel’s Cast Lead counter terrorist offensive in Gaza, he wrote: “Israel has every right to laugh and sing, even while it massacres its neighbor. Palestinians are only asking to die a different death, one of old age.”
Hat tip: Insubria.