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Haniyeh orders swift investigation into murder of activist

April 15, 2011 9:37 P.M. (Updated: April 16, 2011 5:42 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The premier of Hamas' government has ordered its interior ministry to immediately open a criminal investigation leading to the killers of an Italian peace activist abducted by extremists in Gaza.

Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that his government "strongly denounces" the killing of Vittorio Arrigoni, whose body was discovered in an empty house in Gaza City hours after he was seen in a random video posted by Islamist extremists Thursday afternoon.

The murder "does not reflect the values, morals, or the religion of the Palestinian people "This is an unprecedented case that won't be repeated," he said at an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis.

The killers will be brought to justice "as soon as possible" to deter any similar crime, he said.

The government will consider Vittorio a Palestinian martyr and name a street after him, he said.

Hamas officials said Haniyeh called Arrigoni's mother to express his and his government's condolences for the death of her son. He explained the efforts the government is making to prosecute those responsible.

Arrigoni's mother thanked Haniyeh for the call and appreciated his efforts, the officials said.

Security forces will increase protection to members of the international solidarity campaigns to break the siege, and the government called on them to continue their efforts until the siege is lifted.

"This crime comes as Gaza is experiencing its most improved security situation; everyone who visits Gaza should be feel secure and safe," he said vowing to increase efforts to emphasize that point.

The government has sent its condolences to the Italian government and people. It ordered the foreign ministry and government media office to intensify efforts to coordinate with concerned parties and took a decision to form a delegation to Italy to pay its respects to the victim's loved ones.
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