Vittorio Arrigoni Photo: PA
The Brigade of the Gallant Companion of the Prophet Mohammed bin Muslima posted a video online Thursday showing the activist Vittorio Arrigoni blindfolded, bloodied and bruised, before they reportedly hanged him.
Previously unheard-of, they indicated in the video they belong to the Salafist movement that accuses Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, of being too weak with Israel and of failing to uphold Islamic law in the Palestinian enclave.
The radical movement derives its name from the Arabic word "salafi" meaning forebears, and espouses an austere form of Sunni Islam that seeks a return to practices that were common in the early days of the faith.
There are five major Salafist groups in Gaza - Jaish al-Islam, Jund Ansar Allah, Tawhid wa Jihad, Jaish al-
Umma and Ansar al-Sunnah - which are said to have hundreds of members. Their religious observances and refusal to abide by various ceasefires have set them on a path of confrontation with Hamas.