A BBC radio interview about the execution of a pro-Palestinian Italian citizen in Gaza has led to more publicity for Mohamed Abu Muailek’s plight.

In one of three interviews he gave to the BBC on 15 April 2011, film-maker and long-time foreign correspondent Paul Martin discussed the  killing.  It had taken place after a statement  posted on Youtube  threatened to kill the man unless Hamas released Salafist prisoners.

Martin told the BBC about his encounters with Salafist Islamist hardliners, who had been in the cell adjoining his own during the 26 days he had spent in a Gaza Internal Security prison during February and March 2010.

He said their journey towards an extremist view of Islam was the exact opposite to the odyssey that Abu Muailek had travelled – from rocket-firing militant to a dissident who believed in peaceful coexistence.  He has been imprisoned for two years and allegedly tortured while a military trial has not been concluded.

Hamas later reported that its forces had killed two of the alleged murder suspects in a clash at a refugee camp.  These events have raised suspicion that the true killers were not in fact Salafists. The killing of the Italian was not carried out in the usual execution method of global Jihadists as sen on various videos from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan- slashing of the throat.  Instead he had been strangled.  Also, he was killed long before the ‘deadline’ said to have been set by the Islamist extremists for the detained Salafist leader’s release. 

Also, the Italian, a self-proclaimed pacifist, had recently been filmed showing support for protests inside Gaza that urged Hamas to end its rift with Fatah and promote democratic change.

Sources within Gaza have suggested that the Italian’s death stemmed from this recent ‘interference’  against Hamas, pointing the finger of blame at Hamas loyalists.

Martin gave his BBC interview before the killing of the two men who had allegedly carried out the Italian’s murder – killings that prevented any interrogation of the alleged murderers.

(Listen to the BBC World Service interview.)


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