Security forces in Gaza located overnight Thursday the body of Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian member of the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who had been kidnapped by Salafist Muslims earlier.
Hamas officials, who reported that Arrigoni's body had been found, added that the body had been found in an abandoned home in Gaza.
Earlier, the Bethlehem-based Ma'an NewsAgency reported that Arrigoni's kidnappers belong to A-Tawheed wal Jihad, a terror group of the Salafist Muslim stream. The kidnappers 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 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." He attempted to interfere with IDF operations during the offensive and with the IDF retrieval of arms smuggled by sea to Gaza.
Kidnappings of foreigners are commonplace in Gaza. In the past year 14 such kidnappings have occurred. In each case the victim has been released after a short period of time and unharmed. The demands are not usually aimed at Hamas, however.
In Sufi and Shi'ite literature the term Salafi is interchangeable with the term Wahabi, but many Salafis reject the term as unfounded despite philosophical similarities. Wahabi Islam dominates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and characterizes the philosophy of the al Qaeda international terrorist organization.
Both sects are a part of the Sunni orthodox mainstream.