IDF ‘assassinated’ activist, claims Palestinian media
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IDF ‘assassinated’ activist, claims Palestinian media

Mu’taz Washha of Bir Zeit was intentionally killed, local media asserts

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Palestinian residents evacuate the body of Mu'taz Washha from his house toward an ambulance after he was killed during a reported Israeli army operation, in the West Bank town of Bir Zeit, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Palestinian residents evacuate the body of Mu'taz Washha from his house toward an ambulance after he was killed during a reported Israeli army operation, in the West Bank town of Bir Zeit, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

While Arab media focuses on the apparent Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea, Palestinian newspapers on Friday lead with the killing of Mu’taz Washha by IDF troops in the town of Bir Zeit, outside Ramallah.

“Mu’taz Washha assassinated in cold blood with missiles and mortars in Bir Zeit,” reads the headline of official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah. The daily displays a small photo of the 25-year-old Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) activist on the backdrop of his family home, its walls blown off.

“Amid great shock, the Washha family and its neighbors in Bir Zeit found the body of martyr Mu’taz after the home in which he was beseiged turned into rubble as a result of missiles and mortars [fired at it],” reads the article. “Eye witnesses said that the occupation army assassinated Washha knowing that he posed no threat; the decision to assassinate is what the occupation force wanted to carry out.”

“Firing mortar shells and destroying his brother’s home; that’s how the occupation forces killed the youth Mu’taz Washha in Bir Zeit,” reads the headline of PA daily Al-Ayyam.

Eye witnesses tell the daily that IDF special forces circled Washha’s home at 4 a.m., noting that 32-year-old brother Tha’er had been repeatedly arrested in the past for belonging to the PFLP.

The daily displays a cartoon of Washha, titled “in the land of martyrdom – the martyr Mu’taz Washa.”

Meanwhile, the website of Jerusalem-based daily Al-Quds reports on Washha’s funeral on Friday. The funeral procession, replete with red PFLP flags, left from Ramallah and headed toward Bir Zeit’s mosque. Washha’s body was wrapped in the Palestinian flag.

“The occupation forces assassinated the martyr Washha in his relatives’ home before his family’s eyes, then destroyed the home using bulldozers,” the article read.

Palestinian news agency Ma’an reports that PFLP Secretary General Ahmad Saadat, imprisoned in Israel, sent a letter of condolence to Washha’s family through his deputy, Abu-Ahmad Fuad.

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