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article imageIslamist militants threaten to kill Italian kidnapped in Gaza

By Kev Hedges     Apr 14, 2011 in World
Gaza - An al Qaeda-inspired militant group in Gaza has captured an Italian journalist and has threatened to kill him within 30 hours if Hamas does not release a number of Palestinian prisoners being held by the Gaza government.
Should the claims to be true, it will be the first time in four years that a westerner has been kidnapped in the Gaza Strip. Hamas imposed a strict ban on the kidnapping of foreign journalists and civilians - and were instrumental in the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston after he had been been seized and held for three months.
However, Wahhabi organisations are seeking to propagate a more aggressive form of resistance against Israel by calling on Hamas to fire rockets into Israel. Hamas have resisted but the Salifist movements have fired them regardless in defiance of Hamas, reports Sky News.
The captured Italian, thought to be called Vittorio Arriogoni, arrived in 2008 as part of an aid-convoy. He supports Palestinians passionately who he believes are suffering under Israeli occupation. But now the militants have released a video of Arriogoni being held by the hair and looking battered and bruised. The group are demanding the release of holy warriors and in particular a sheik leader, arrested last week by Hamas.
The Hamas organisation is described by the Associated Press as a fundamentalist Islamic group in itself, that now faces an even more extremist offshoot of its own.
Many pro-Palestinian bloggers have condemned the kidnapping and demanded Arriogoni's immediate release. They have also called the Salfists a disgrace to Palestine.
The Italian journalist is one of the few to have entered Gaza since Israel imposed heavy restrictions on foreign reporters entering the narrow coastal enclave.
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