Friday, April 15, 2011
Al Qaeda-Gaza abducts and murders Italian pacifist
Al-Tahwir Al-Jihad, the biggest Al Qaeda group based in the Gaza Strip, murdered Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni Thursday, April 14, shortly after they kidnapped him - although Hamas was given until 5 p.m. Friday to release its leader in exchange for Arrigoni. It is the first time any member of Al Qaeda's Jalalat movement of the Gaza Strip has executed a Western citizen and attests to the extremists' growing potency. In the past year, the organization was boosted by hundreds of experienced al Qaeda terrorists from Iraq and Yemen who reached the Gaza Strip through Sinai.
Vittorio Arrigoni was a familiar figure in the Gaza Strip, having arrived on one of the ships aimed at breaking the Gaza blockade three years ago and settled there. He continued to help pro-Palestinian groups in the West organize anti-blockade flotillas. He was also trusted by the radical Palestinian Hamas leadership for assignments with various bodies in the West, moving in and out of Gaza through Egypt on his Italian passport.