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Apparently on Wednesday, Vittorio Arrigoni, a 36-year-old Italian activist with the International Solidarity Movement who had been living in Gaza since 2008, was kidnapped. On Thursday a small, Al Qaeda-linked group calling itself Tawhid and Jihad (Monotheism and Holy War) released a video of Arrigoni with a beaten, bloodied face and someone clutching the hair of his head.
In the video, Tawhid and Jihad demanded that Gaza’s ruling Hamas regime free its leader, Hisham Saidani, whom Hamas had arrested in early March—or it would kill Arrigoni within 30 hours.
Reports say that on Thursday night Hamas police officers stormed the house in Gaza City where Arrigoni was being held—and found it empty except for his body lying on a mattress. The doctor who performed the autopsy said he had been strangled with a plastic cord, about 24 hours before the ultimatum was supposed to expire.
By Friday morning Tawhid and Jihad was denying responsibility for the murder. Hamas now claims it has arrested two suspects, but it has also, in de rigueur fashion, been putting the blame on Israel.
The International Solidarity Movement to which Arrigoni belonged, founded in 2001, abets Palestinian terror against Israel and is an important force in the international BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) movement against Israel. Israel’s Meir Amit Center describes ISM as “joined at the hip” to the Free Gaza Movement, and last year the two of them cooperated with the Turkish terror-linked IHH group in dispatching the Mavi Marmara toward Gaza, whose passengers attacked Israeli soldiers with guns, knives, and clubs in a well-known incident.
In 2003 a senior Islamic Jihad terrorist was found hiding in the ISM’s office in Jenin. Also that year, two British Muslim suicide bombers blew up the Mike’s Place bar in Tel Aviv, killing three and wounding 50. Five days earlier the two had met with ISM members in Gaza.
When ISM member Vittorio Arrigoni came to Gaza in August 2008, it was three years after Israel had withdrawn all soldiers and civilians from the Strip and one year after Hamas had assumed full rule there. Israeli civilian communities that border Gaza were under constant rocket and mortar attack—particularly Sderot, a low-income town of about 20,000, one-third of whose children were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and under constant treatment.
It goes without saying that Arrigoni, a blogger for the Communist paper Il Manifesto who sported a Che Guevara cap, had no sympathy whatsoever for the residents of Sderot—or for any Israeli under terror attack anytime. The New York Times, ever enamored of the “Palestinian cause,” writes admiringly that Arrigoni “dedicated his life to people he saw as oppressed,” and “during Israel’s three-week offensive in Gaza that started in late 2008, after years of rocket fire against southern Israel, he rode in ambulances to report firsthand on the Israeli assault that he condemned.” He also reportedly “worked closely with Gazan fishermen and farmers.”
According to AP, the ISM said in a press release that Arrigoni had been engaged in “monitoring human rights violations by Israel, supporting the Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli occupation and disseminating information about the situation in Gaza to his home country of Italy.”
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