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A video posted on YouTube shows Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni kidnapped by a group of radical Islamists in Gaza. Mohammed Othman / Demotix/Demotix/Press Association Images

Body of Italian peace activist found in Gaza

Vittorio Arrigoni was abducted and strangled by an Islamic group with ties to Al Qaeda.

AN ITALIAN PEACE activist has been kidnapped and murdered in Gaza.

The body of the pro-Palestinian Vittorio Arrigoni was found by Hamas police officers. An autopsy has revealed that he was strangled with a plastic cord.

The Guardian reports that 36-year-old Arrigoni was killed by the Tawheed and Jihad group, a radical Islamic organisation with ties to Al Qaeda. The group had threatened to kill the Italian unless Hamas released its leader Hisham Saidani, who was arrested in March.

The New York Times reports that the abductors released a video on Thursday, setting a 30 hour deadline due to expire at 5pm on Friday. However the Palestinian doctor who performed the autopsy said it appeared that Arrigoni had been killed at least 24 hours before the deadline expired.

WARNING: Some viewers might find this video of a blindfolded Arrigoni upsetting:

Arrigoni was in Gaza working with the International Solidarity Movement and also worked as a journalist. He was involved in promoting the rights of Gazan fisherman. He had blogged about the deaths of four men in the southern Gaza, and also about Silvio Berlusconi and former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on the day he was abducted.

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