Gaza-Salafis Kidnap Italian Activist

by Florian Flade

A Salafi militant group based in Gaza has kidnapped a Italian activist who lives in the Gaza Strip for several years and campaigned against Israeli military operations and the lockdown of the territory.

The man appeared in a Youtube video on Thursday, blindfolded, apparently injured in his face. His kidnappers are grabbing his head, pushing it towards the camera.

Allegedly, the hostage takers demand the release of two commanders belonging to their group and held by Hamas which rules Gaza and fights rival Salafi groups trying to establish al-Qaida-linked elements in the region.

In 2007 a British BBC journalist was kidnapped by a militant group in Gaza and later released. It was the last time Palestinian factions in Gaza had taken a Westerner hostage.

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