GAZA: Four Palestinian hardliners were jailed, two for life, Monday after a Gaza military court found them guilty of the kidnap and murder of an Italian peace activist in April 2011.
Mahmud al-Salfiti, 24, and Tamer al-Husasna, 26, were found guilty of kidnapping and murdering Vittorio Arrigoni and each sentenced by the court in the Hamas-ruled enclave to life imprisonment.
Another member of the Salafist group, Khadr Faruk Jerim, 26, received a 10-year prison term for kidnapping the Italian while a fourth, Amer Abu Ghola, 26, was jailed for a year for providing the house in which Arrigoni was found hanged.
The tribunal also ordered to dismiss Salfiti, Husasna and Jerim from the police force they served on. Abu Ghola is a fisherman.
Arrigoni, 36, a long-time member of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, was kidnapped on April 14, 2011 in Gaza by Salafist jihadists.
Shortly after his disappearance, a previously-unknown Salafist group released a YouTube video showing a bruised and bloodied Arrigoni and threatened to kill him within 30 hours if Hamas failed to release a group of jihadist prisoners.
Hamas security forces found Arrigoni's body shortly afterwards, ahead of the stated deadline, in an abandoned house in northern Gaza.
Among those held by Hamas the group demanded be freed was Sheikh Hisham al-Saedini, a leader of the Salafist group Tawhid wal Jihad. He was eventually released last month following Jordanian intervention.
Hamas quickly arrested several suspects in the case, and a week later raided a house where three more suspects were reportedly hiding.
Two were killed during the raid, and a third was taken into custody.
Militant groups of Salafists, Sunni Muslims who promote a strict lifestyle based on the traditions of early "pious ancestors," defy the authority of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas, and accuse it of insufficient opposition to Israel and not imposing Sharia, the Islamic law code.
Arrigoni's death shocked the local community and international aid workers and activists in Gaza, where he had lived and worked for much of the three years prior to his death. His murder was the first of a foreigner in Gaza since Hamas took over in 2007.
Arrigoni is the third ISM member to be killed in Gaza -- U.S. national Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in March 2003, and a month later Briton Tom Hurndall was shot and critically injured by the army. He died in January 2004.