Gazans to hold ‘state funeral’ for slain Italian

Gazans to hold ‘state funeral’ for slain Italian

A radical Islamist group hanged an Italian activist hours after kidnapping him in Gaza, Hamas said on Friday, as Rome denounced the “barbaric murder.”

In a video posted on YouTube, the kidnappers said Arrigoni had been taken hostage in order to secure the release of an unspecified number of Salafists detained by Hamas security forces, including Hisham al-Saedini, a leader of the radical group Tawhid wal Jihad.

The kidnappers, who identified themselves as belonging to The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammed bin Muslima, said they would execute Arrigoni if their demands were not met by 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Friday

 Palestinians in Gaza are to hold a “state funeral” for a murdered Italian activist, Hamas said on Sunday, adding it was close to arresting all those involved in his death.

Hamas foreign affairs and planning minister Mohammed Awad told reporters that slain activist Vittorio Arrigoni’s body would be moved to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on Monday after a funeral in Gaza.

“We’re waiting for his friends and relatives to arrive in Gaza. Some are already here but there are others we are waiting for, and then there will be a state funeral,” Awad said.

Hamas government spokesman Ihab al-Ghoussein branded the murder a “heinous crime which has nothing to do with our values, our religion, our customs and traditions” and said “the other members of the group will be hunted down and the law will be applied.”

In Rome, the Italian foreign ministry denounced “in the strongest manner the act of vile and senseless violence committed by extremists who are indifferent to the value of human life.”

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