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Egypt offers to help slain activist's family enter Gaza

April 16, 2011 6:52 P.M. (Updated: April 17, 2011 4:59 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Egyptian authorities have offered to make arrangements for the family of murdered Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni to enter Gaza, Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Yaser Othman said.

"Egypt will work on allowing the activist's family to enter Gaza via Rafah as well as facilitating moving his body through the same crossing back to Italy," Othman said.

The ambassador said the arrangements would be made Sunday, and added that Egyptian authorities were ready to help the family in any way they could.

Arrigoni, 36, who was working with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, was found dead by Hamas security forces in a house in northern Gaza early on Friday.

He had been hanged, security officials said.

Arrigoni was kidnapped a day earlier by a Salafist group which had demanded that Hamas release Salafist prisoners within a 30-hour deadline that was to have expired on Friday afternoon. It was not clear why they killed him.

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Friday 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, Hamas officials said.

Haniyeh said the government would consider Vittorio a Palestinian martyr and name a street after him.

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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