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Gaza police surround suspects in Italian activist's murder

April 19, 2011 4:42 P.M. (Updated: April 20, 2011 12:29 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Security forces have surrounded a home in central Gaza where men suspected of killing an Italian activist are believed to be hiding, witnesses said.

Special forces closed in on a house belonging to the Abu Ghulah family near Wadi Gaza and evacuated homes in the area, onlookers said.

The owner of the home, Amer Abu Ghulah, surrendered to police. Security officials were urging suspects inside to give themselves up and snipers were positioned on the roofs of neighboring homes, witnesses said.

A statement from the Hamas-run Interior Ministry declared the area a closed security zone "because of the suspicion of the presence of the fugitives." Roads leading to the building were blocked, Reuters reported.

"The operation is under way," a security official said.

On Monday, the Gaza government released photos of three suspects in the murder of Vittorio Arrigoni, who was found hanged hours after his abduction by a group demanding the release of Salafi prisoners.

The men were identified as Abdul-Rahman Al-Breizat, Mahmoud Muhammad Nimir Salfiti and Bilal Al-Umari.

On Sunday, Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh offered police a reward for the arrest of those involved, and police announced a closure of sectors of the Strip in an attempt to close in on the suspects.

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