The Palestinian Police in Gaza released pictures and names of three persons believed to be behind the murder of Italian peace activist, Vitorio Arrigoni. The Police stated that evidence against the suspects is solid.The Palestine Today newspaper reported that the three detained suspects are Mohammad Al Breizat, Bilal Al Omary and Mahmoud Al Salfity. Al Breizat, also known as Mohammad Hassan is a Jordanian national; he is believed to have enter Gaza through a tunnel.
The Al Hayat newspaper, based in London, reported Sunday that five persons are believed to be behind the abduction and murder of Arrigoni.
According to the paper, the suspects are members of three Salafist groups that carry the ideology of Al Qaida; Tawhid and Jihad, The Army Of Islam and Jaljalat. The three groups are also sworn enemies to the Hamas movement in Gaza as they believe the movement does not implement the “teachings of Islam”.
Following the murder of Arrigoni, the Hamas-controlled security forces closed all tunnels along the border with Egypt in an attempt to prevent the suspects from fleeing out of Gaza.
Members of extremist Salafist groups in Gaza are in the hundreds. Palestinian security forces in Gaza conducted massive arrests targeting Salafist extremists.
Although Salafist groups claimed to have no relation to the abduction and the murder of Arrigoni, one of the groups released a video on Youtube showing the captive sodality activist in the hands of his captures, and demanding the release of some of their leaders, including Abu Al Waleed Al Maqdisi, who was arrested by Hamas two months ago.
The Saudi-based Middle East Newspaper, reported that a Salafist leader admitted that Salafist fighters were behind the abduction and the murder of Arrigoni, but claimed that they acted one their own, without the knowledge of their superiors.
Abu Al Bara’ Al Masry, one of the known Salafist leaders in Gaza said that 3 members of the Tawhid and Jihad group abducted and killed Arrigoni without consulting with their Emirs who, according to Al Masry, were surprised of what happened and declared they had nothing to do with the issue.
Meanwhile, Abu Hamza Al Mohajir, a Salafist leader in Gaza, accused affiliates of Abu Al Waleed Al Maqdisi of abducting and killing Arrigoni, but also stressed that Hamas must release all detained members and leaders of the Salafist groups in order to ensure similar event do not happen again.
He said that hundreds of members and leaders are still detained by Hamas, including Abu Al Waleed Al Maqdisi, Abu Al Mo’tasim Al Maqdisi, and Abu Hamza Al Maqdisi.
A Hamas leader accused non-Palestinian groups of conducting the murder and told Al Hayat newspaper that “Israel is not innocent as this murder is a message to solidarity activists that Gaza is not safe, and an attempt to show Gaza as the new hub for international terror that must be countered”.
The leader added that the kidnappers never intended to conduct a prisoner swap or negotiate the release of Arrigoni as they did not even wait for their own 30-hour deadline.
Arrigoni was a member of International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM said that for the past two years, Vittorio was in the Gaza Strip, monitoring human rights violations carried out by Israel, supporting the popular resistance against the occupation and reporting to his home country, Italy.
The slain human rights defender and journalist worked actively for the Palestinian cause for the past 10 years.