Palestine: Kidnapping of Italian Activist in Gaza

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.

* * *

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.

Vittorio Arrigoni

Vittorio Arrigoni (profile picture from Facebook)

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.


  • […] Palestine: Kidnapping of Italian Activist in Gaza | GlobalVoices | April 14, 2011 […]

  • This is outrageous. I wish Vittorio a safe release.

  • […] Palestine: Kidnapping of Italian Activist in Gaza | GlobalVoices | April 14, 2011 […]

  • setyo

    Al-Jazeera reported that Vittorio Arrigoni has died and his body was found in an apartment in Gaza.

    Below are a few responses in Twitter I could gather:

    @shaistaAziz I am in tears, he was one of the bravest men I know and had such a big love for the people of Gaza, he made Gaza his life, sis

    #Vittorio #Arrigoni’s murder is truly a lowest-point-of-humanity moment. Wish I hadn’t ‘witnessed’ that. Really loathe our species right now

    Vittorio was murdered in the place he considered home, where he felt safe, where he bled defending #Gaza

    I am sorry @VikUtopia. You will be missed, and remembered as a hero. إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

    [The arabic text roughly translates to “All comes from God and returns to God”, said in the event of death.]

  • Fadwa Abdelrazeq

    I cannot believe this, i have been following this story from the beginning, just hoping and praying that he would be released unharmed. upon hearing the news about his murder, i am truly devastated . He has devoted so much time in gaza to help the palestinian’s shed light on the daily hardships they endure. i am a palestinian,born in the u.s and i am ashamed of what has happened. the group responsible are not muslim’s,they are among other cowards that are slandering the true meaning of islam!! -Fadwa Abdelrazeq

  • Dario

    Funny, isn’t it? Vittorio was always labelling the Israelis as murderers and the Palestinians as victims. And now, guess what? He was murdered by “the victims” – this is what I would call an “Irony”, isn’t it? Poor guy, he thought he was on the side of the “humans”, what a tragic way to understand he was wrong. May he rest in peace now.

    • What a shameful comment, implying that Palestinians aren’t human. “The Palestinians” didn’t murder him, *some* Palestinians did. The Israelis aren’t all murderers, but some have murdered.

      • Dario

        You see, Jillian, the problem is that you do not understand italian. If you would be able to read his blog in italian, you would see that this is actually what Vittorio truly believed – Israelis are nazis, Palestinians are victims. It is written every where in his blog. Not “Some Israelis are Nazis”, but all of them. What you believe and what he believed are 2 completely different things.
        There are 2 ironies in this barbaric murder: the one is that actually it was the arabs who convinced the Nazis (and to be more specific, the Muslim Brootherhood, the same ideology that brought him to his tragic end) to kill all the Jews (see transcripts from the meeting between Hajj Amin Al-Husseini and Hitler), and the second is that he was murdered by the same people he tried so hard to help.

        • I don’t think that’s the problem at all, actually. It doesn’t matter what he has said, because your comment that Palestinians aren’t human, or that the whole of the Palestinian people murdered him, still stands.

          • Dario

            No, you got it all wrong. I was not talking about the Palestinians, just about what he believed in. Again, you should go and read his comments in italian before responding. He used to end all his comments with the following 2 words: “Stay Human” (in English, by the way, not too hard to understand) – what do you make out of this? It is not so hard to understand the message, isn’t it? Would it be OK to assume that he was such a racist, that he believed that to be on the Palestinian side is to stay human, while beiing on the Israeli side is to stay Nazi? Is this racism what you would take for pacifism?
            The basis for my comment are these 2 words that ended all his posts. Criticizing without knowing who he was and what he used to write is easy (ignorance is a blessing, isn’t it?). Start by reading his comments, understanding his messages, and then come back with an informed opinion please. Otherwise, your responses are irrelevant.

  • Major news outlets are reporting he was found dead. At a loss.

  • A'fra

    Very saddened by this news. Its pathetic how the different groups in Palestine are fighting and killing each other instead of forming an alliance to fight the common enemy. Don’t know when these people will understand the meaning and strength of unity. For an activist who was so devoted in advocating for the Palestinian cause to have been caught between the rivalry of two sides is just unacceptable!

    • Dario

      This is precisely what some Arabs are doing right now. they are fighting their real common enemies: the tyranny of Arab regimes, such as in Egypt, in Lybia, in Syria, in Yemen, in Bahrein, in Iran, the Hamas, the Hizbolla, the Taliban and others.
      Israel was only an excuse, that worked as long as the Arab population wanted to accept. From the moment they got it, the game was over. We have seen this in Egypt, in Lybia, in Tunisia, in Yemen, in Bahrein, now in Syria, soon in Iran and other places. I hope the day will come and the palestinians will understand that their enemy from within affects their life far more than their enemy from without, and will stand up for their rights. It will be then, and only then, that they will be able to be free

  • […] before the deadline set by his captors arrived, kidnapped Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni was killed, apparently hanged. Bloggers in […]

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.