Written by Luca Galassi for PeaceReporter. Translated by Mary Rizzo
Vittorio Arrigoni was strangled by his kidnappers during a blitz by the armed faction of Hamas in the flat where he was held hostage in Gaza City.
Vittorio Arrigoni is dead. His body was found during the night at approximately 1:50 in a flat in the Gaza Strip, in the Qaram quarter, in the outskirts of Gaza City. The news was first disseminated by the Hamas sources and then confirmed to PeaceReporter by an activist of the International Solidarity Movement. Hamas, the Islamic movement that controls the territory of the Strip was unable to mediate to bring about his liberation. Or perhaps they did not even try. According to what has been reported by the movement’s spokesman, following indications of one of the members of the ultra-radical group (as in original Italian) interrogated in the early afternoon, the security forces surrounded the area in which Vittorio was being held captive, giving way to a blitz that turned into an armed clash, the result of which was the injuring of some Salafi militants, two of them arrested, while the others are still being sought.
It is unclear how and when Vittorio was assassinated, even if the Hamas spokesman, Yiab Hussein, declared in a press conference held shortly after 3 AM that Arrigoni had been killed approximately three hours prior to the blitz, without however explaining how it was possible to establish the details of the death with such exactness. An ISM volunteer arrived at the place he was found and recognised the body at 3:10. “He had his hands tied behind his back, he was lying on a mattress.” The woman told PeaceReporter that Hamas security organs also told her and the other members of the ISM who went to the flat where Vittorio is said to have been killed that he had died several hours before their arrival. The pacifist has been strangled, even if, from the account given to PeaceReporter by the volunteer, there were various kinds of injuries behind his neck. “He still had the blindfolding over his eyes, and he lost blood from behind his head. There were marks from handcuffs around his wrists.”
The evening before the kidnapping, Arrigoni went to the gym. Then he had made a call to book a table at the restaurant where he often had dinner. He said he would be there around 22:00. At 22:30, not seeing him arrive, the restaurant rang him. But Vittorio did not answer. No one was worried, because often he would turn off his mobile phone. After dinner he was expected to meet with a friend and the next morning would have gone to Rafah to visit with some Palestinian families together with his colleagues of the ISM, who had also tried to contact him after the gym, but in vain. Vittorio was kidnapped as soon as he left the gym.
His body was transferred during the night to Shifa Hospital of Gaza, where a post-mortem examination was carried out and his death certificate was drafted. The Italian pacifist was kidnapped yesterday by a Salafi Islamic group that, in a film on YouTube, threatened to kill him if within 30 hours, starting from 11:00 local time, the Hamas government did not liberate some Salafi detainees. Vittorio was killed without even half the time that the kidnappers stated as the limit having passed, much earlier than the moment they announced in their ultimatum. He was killed without even an indication that a negotiation was started for his release. Unfortunately, there are many questions which are not easy to find answers to. With his death, the world loses one of the most fervent supporters of the Palestinian cause. A war journalist. And a friend. Goodbye, Vik.