Jim Kouri
Salafists execute Italian activist in Gaza
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By Jim Kouri
April 15, 2011

"Salafist jihadists are extremist Sunnis who believe they are the only true interpreters of the Koran. They are beginning to concern counterterrorism experts since Salafists are gaining more and more power in Egypt following the ouster of President Mubarak."

A pro-Palestinian activist from Italy was discovered dead in Gaza a mere few hours after being abducted, according to the Israeli Defense Force.

According to IDF officials, 36-year old Vittorio Arrigoni was seized on Thursday morning by a radical Islamist group seeking the release of their leader, who was arrested last month.

Hamas claimed that Arrigoni was found hanged, after member of the Palestinian Authority police received an anonymous telephone call.

Arrigoni was the first foreigner kidnapped in Gaza since British news correspondent Alan Johnson was abducted in 2007.

Hamas officials claim they've arrested one suspect and the police manhunt continues for his accomplices. Arrigoni had not been held captive for long and was almost immdediately executed by his captors.

Arrigoni was seized by Salafist radicals, who have often been in conflict with Hamas, the British Broadcasting Company's Gaza correspondent Jon Donnison reported.

Salafist jihadists are extremist Sunnis who believe they are the only true interpreters of the Koran. They are beginning to concern counterterrorism experts since Salafists are gaining more and more power in Egypt following the ouster of President Mubarak.

"Salafism jihadism combines a deep respect for the sacred texts with a devotion to a literal interpretation. Salifists have an absolute commitment to jihad, and their number-one target is America, perceived as the greatest enemy of their faith," according to counterterrorism expert Neal Ahearn, a former police commander of an anti-terrorism unit.

In Gaza, Salafist jihadists consider Hamas too moderate in spite of Hamas' terrorist tactics. The Salafists had threatened to execute Arrigoni unless several prisoners, including their leader, Sheikh Abu Walid al-Maqdasi, were released.

In a disturbing YouTube video, Arrigoni appeared bloodied from an apparent beating with his eyes covered with black electrical tape.

The video's caption read: "The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption." The video called Italy "the infidel state." Arrigoni was a member of the International Solidarity Movement and had been in Gaza for several years. He was a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause and was highly critical of Israel.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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