Update (Friday 15 April, 2011): It has been reported by various international media outlets that Vittorio Arrigoni has been found dead in the Gaza Strip hours after being abducted on Thursday 14 April, 2011.
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Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni was kidnapped today in Gaza by a Salafi-Jihadi group, who say they will kill him if Sheikh Abu Al Waleed Al Maqdisi, recently arrested by the Hamas government, is not released.
Arrigoni – known as Vik – has been in Gaza for over two years with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). (See this Global Voices post about him.) Gaza blogger Omar Ghraieb writes that Arrigoni's kidnappers are threatening to kill him:
Vittorio Arrigoni, 36, ISM volunteer in Gaza, was kidnapped earlier today in Gaza city. Later, a youtube video surfaced showing Vittorio blindfolded and beaten up.
Salafi Jehadis claimed the responsibility of kidnapping and abducting him asking Hamas government in Gaza to release Abu Al Waleed Al Maqdisi in 30 hours starting from 11 am today 14\4\2011 or else they would kill him.
All journos in Gaza, Vittorio's friends here and his friends everywhere ask Hamas to immediately intervene and release Vittorio who worked hard to help Gaza for a long time.
Please let's all pray for his safe release.
The video Arrigoni's kidnappers released has since been disabled. It showed Arrigoni blindfolded, having been beaten, with text rolling over the screen detailing the demands of his captors.
Some reactions to the kidnapping on Twitter:
@SanaKassem: To all Gazans. A great supporter of the Palestinian struggle, #Vittorio Arrigoni, has been kidnapped in #Gaza. He needs your support.
@Omar_Gaza: Hamas we ask you to immediately intervene and release Vittorio Arrigoni now, Italian ISM worker! #Gaza #FreeVittorioNow
@jmalsin: Stunned, sickened, after seeing the video of what salafists claim is a captive Vittorio Arrigoni, who I met several times in Gaza.
@forumeditor: Why kidnap Vittorio Arrigoni who's trying to help the their own cause? His abductors r disgusting: anyone's fair game so they get publicity.
Vittorio Arrigoni's Facebook page is here.