INTERVIEW / THE LEADER OF THE GROUP THAT CLAIMS TO HAVE KIDNAPPED VITTORIO ARRIGONI SPEAKS

Posted: 06/15/2011 by editormary in Interviews, Jordan, Palestine, Religion
Tags: , ,
image from the video released by the kidnappers

Sheikh Abu Musab: “Killing him was an error”

By Michele Giorgio
in Gaza City for il manifesto 15 June 2011 www.ilmanifesto.it
translated from Italian by Mary Rizzo

The kidnappers of Vittorio Arrigoni declare to be members of al Tawhid wal Jihad, a formation following al Qaeda that less than two years ago made itself known in Gaza, forming its own cells, often in competition if not actually in opposition to Hamas (accused of not applying “true Islam”). They affirm to have carried out the kidnapping of Vittorio in order to obtain the release of the Egyptian Sheikh al-Saidani, known also as Abu Walid al-Maqdisi, arrested a month before. Tawhid wal Jihad denied being involved in the kidnapping of the Italian activist, but in Gaza there is still talk circulating about the connections between this group and the kidnappers. Sheikh Abu Musab, one of the leaders of Tawhid wal Jihad, has accepted to answer the questions from il manifesto regarding the Arrigoni kidnapping. He welcomes us in a small house in the refugee camp of Jabaliya, in northern Gaza, armed with a machine gun and with his face partially covered by a keffiyah.

You deny to have played any role in the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio Arrigoni, yet you are still being accused of that.

Someone wants to involve us at all costs in this affair, but Tawhid wal Jihad did not in any way plan or participate in the kidnapping of the Italian. Our denial was immediate, from the very start we made it clear that the kidnappers were not part of our Jihad project. Those young men used our name because it is known and they wanted to gain some attention.

Yet, the Jordanian, Abdel Rahman Breizat, the mind behind the kidnapping, was close to your organisation.

Yes, but only up to a certain point. Many of our combatants knew him. He was a religious young man who wanted to make Palestine the starting  place of a new rebirth of Islam, for the victory of the Jihad in dar al Islam. But he never was part of the structure of Tawhid wal Jihad, he was external to us and everything he did he organised together with his friends (those of the kidnapping of Vittorio, author’s note) and without our knowledge.

But you personally knew Breizat?

Certainly, because as soon as he arrived in Gaza (at the start of 2010, author’s note) he immediately made contact with the salafiyya (the al Qaeda cell of Gaza that follows Salafist thought, author’s note). I remember that I spoke with him more than once, of the greatness of the prophet (Mohammed, author’s note) and of the duties of Muslims. He dwelled very much on the lack of respect by the Islamic peoples of the precepts of the Qur’an and of the teachings of the prophet. The indifference of many Muslims towards religion irritated him.

But what did Vittorio Arrigoni have to do with any of that? He was not a Muslim…

I think that the kidnapping of the Italian was used by Breizat and his comrades in order to affirm the existence of his cell, of his group. In exchange for his liberation he asked for the release of Sheikh al Saidani, unjustly arrested only for having spoken in the name of Islam. Breizat set up a spectacular operation to get some attention for himself.

You mention the liberation and prisoner exchange, but Vittorio was killed immediately, the killers themselves hadn’t respected their own ultimatum.

Because Breizat and his comrades organised something they were unable to manage. They felt strong pressure straight away, they felt entrapped and they killed the hostage.

But knowledge of the kidnapping that took place on the 13th of April was only made public just before sundown on the 14th and the Hamas police intervened when everything fell into darkness. According to one theory, Vittorio Arrigoni could have been killed in the early afternoon, perhaps in the video that the kidnappers sent out, he was already dead or in coma.

Pressure is not only that of the police and the investigations, but also that of lack of preparation, lack of mental and military organisation. It is complex to manage a kidnapping and only a group that has determination and is well-structured can carry out something of the sort. Breizat and his comrades perhaps were overcome by confusion.

And what do you say of the rumours of a hidden management, seemingly from the Sinai, of the kidnapping of Arrigoni?

I know nothing about that, but I can’t exclude that Breizat had someone behind him, someone who convinced him to act and strike that Italian. Perhaps behind it all is the Mossad (Israeli secret services). With certainly I can only say that Tawhid wal Jihad did not kidnap Vittorio Arrigoni.

You knew Arrigoni, were you aware of his presence and his activities in Gaza?

I once saw him in an ambulance in the north of Gaza during the Zionist aggression (the Israeli offensive “Operation Cast Lead”, December 2008-January 2009). Sometimes people talked about him. For me, he was a friend of the Palestinians and not an enemy of Islam. His assassination was a crime. We do not oppose the presence of Westerners in Gaza, if they come to help the Palestinians and Muslims, they must not be harmed. Our religion protects them.

See also: https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2011/06/15/hamas-the-report-with-the-truth-on-vik%e2%80%99s-homicide-at-the-end-of-june/

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Comments
  1. […] Interview: The leader of the group that claims to have kidnapped Vittorio Arrigoni speaks 15 June — You deny to have played any role in the kidnapping and assassination of Vittorio Arrigoni, yet you are still being accused of that.  Someone wants to involve us at all costs in this affair, but Tawhid wal Jihad did not in any way plan or participate in the kidnapping of the Italian. Our denial was immediate, from the very start we made it clear that the kidnappers were not part of our Jihad project. Those young men used our name because it is known and they wanted to gain some attention. https://wewritewhatwelike.com/2011/06/15/interview-the-leader-of-the-group-that-claims-to-have-kidnapped-vittorio-arrigoni-speaks/ Gaza border opening little more than rhetoric / Ramzy Baroud JT 16 June – For most Palestinians, leaving Gaza through Egypt is as exasperating a process as entering it. Governed by political and cultural sensitivities, most Palestinian officials and public figures refrain from criticizing the way Palestinians are treated at the Rafah border. There is really no diplomatic language to describe the relationship between desperate Palestinians — some literally fighting for their lives — and Egyptian officials at the crossing which separates Gaza from Egypt. “Gazans are treated like animals at the border,” I was told by a friend who was afraid that her fiancé would not be allowed to leave Gaza, despite having his papers in order. Having crossed the border myself just a few days earlier, I could not disagree with her statement … I was one of the very first Palestinians who stood at Rafah following the announcement of a “permanent” opening. Our bus waited at the gate for a long time. I watched a father repeatedly try to reassure his crying 6-year-old child, who displayed obvious signs of a terrible bone disease. “Get the children out or they will die,” shouted an older passenger as he gasped for air. The heat in the bus, combined with the smell of trapped sweat was unbearable. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20110616rb.html […]

  2. […] Remember the recent history of suspicious claims made on Tawhid wal Jihad’s behalf. http://t.co/DPRSHbZ […]

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