On Tuesday, Hamas forces raided a building to attempt an arrest of several suspects in the murder of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni last week. When the suspects shot at the security forces, a shootout ensued, and two suspects were killed, according to local sources.In addition, a third suspect was arrested by the Hamas security forces. The two suspects who were killed were identified as Abdul-Rahman Al-Breizat and Bilal Al-Umari, and the suspect who was arrested was identified as Mahmoud Muhammad Nimir Salfiti.
According to a statement by the Hamas Interior Ministry, three security officers were also injured during the standoff, when one of the suspects threw a grenade at the other suspects. The statement said, “The operation ended with Al-Birizit throwing an explosive device at his comrades … and then firing on himself. Three security forces were injured, two of them moderately”.
The Hamas government in Gaza had been searching for the suspects in question for several days, after identifying them in connection with the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni on April 15th.
Arrigoni was a long-time supporter of Palestinian rights who had been living in Gaza when he was abducted by an unknown group that demanded the release of a prisoner that they claimed Hamas forces had arrested, then killed Arrigoni just hours after making the demand.
Although international media reports have stated that the group which claimed responsibility was a Salafist group, which is a right-wing political Islamic sect, but Hamas security forces say that they are still investigating that claim.
Every Palestinian political faction issued statements condemning the murder of the Italian activist, and thousands of people came out on Monday in both Gaza City and Rafah for Arrigoni’s funeral.