Palestinians call for release of Italian activist kidnapped in Gaza

From the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), April 14:

Today, our friend and colleague, Vittorio Arrigoni, a journalist and human rights defender working in the Gaza Strip, was kidnapped by Salafists, members of a very small extremist group in Gaza.

Vittorio has been active in the Palestine cause for almost 10 years. For the past two and a half years, he has been in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, monitoring human rights violations by Israel, supporting the Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli occupation and disseminating information about the situation in Gaza to his home country of Italy. He was aboard the siege-breaking voyage in 2008 with the Free Gaza Movement and was incarcerated in Israeli prisons several times. He was in Gaza throughout Israel’s brutal assault (Operation Cast Lead), assisting medics and reporting to the world what Israel was doing to the Palestinian people. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces for his participation in Palestinian non-violent resistance in the West Bank and Gaza. His last arrest and deportation from the area was a result of the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian fishing vessels in Gazan territorial waters.

Vittorio frequently writes on the issue of Palestine for the Italian newspaper, IL Manifesto and Peacereporter. Additionally, he maintains a popular blog ( and facebook page (

Khalil Shaheen, a friend of Vittorio and Head of the Economic and Social Rights Department at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said, “This is outside of our traditions. We are calling for the immediate release of my best friend. Vittorio Arrigoni is a hero of Palestine. He was available everywhere to support all the poor people, the victims. I’m calling on the local authorities here in Gaza, and all security departments, to do their best to guarantee his safety and immediate release.”

Vittorio was granted honorary citizenship for his work on promoting the cause of the Palestinian people. Members of Gazan civil society are demanding his release; tomorrow at 4:00pm there will be a mass demonstration in Jundi Square.

See our last posts on Palestine and the struggle in Gaza.

  1. Vittorio Arrigoni reported dead
    The body of Vittorio Arrigoni was found hanged in an abandoned house in Gaza City. Hamas authorities have reportedly arrested two men in connection with the killing. In a video released by the so-called Salafist group before his death, Arrigoni was shown blindfolded with his face bloodied. The accompanying Arabic text said: “The Italian hostage entered our land only to spread corruption.” It described Italy as “the infidel state.” (BBC World Service, The Guardian, April 15)

  2. Gaza Salafists strike again —against Palestinian youth
    From AP, July 28:

    GAZA CITY — Thousands of Gaza children sent a sea of colorful kites soaring into the sky Thursday in an attempt to break a world record.

    Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. agency that runs the camp that hosted the event in northwest Gaza, said the unofficial count stood at more than 13,000 children flying kites, which would break the previous world record of nearly 10,500 set earlier this year in China.

    Earlier Thursday, vandals torched a stage, burned a U.N. flag and damaged a billboard at the camp. Gunness said nobody was hurt and he had no information on who vandalized the facility.

    Similar attacks have taken place in the past at U.N. summer camps in Gaza, where boys and girls mix. Suspicion has fallen on Islamic hard-liners who oppose mixing of the genders.