In Bulgaria, Palestinian terrorist’s widow says shunned by investigators
search

In Bulgaria, Palestinian terrorist’s widow says shunned by investigators

Omar Zayed had fled to PA embassy in Sofia to escape extradition for killing of Israeli student, died after apparent fall last month

Police cars parked outside the Palestinian Authority's embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, February 26, 2016. Bulgarian authorities are investigating the unexplained death of a Palestinian man wanted by Israel for a 1986 killing. (AP Photo)
Police cars parked outside the Palestinian Authority's embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, February 26, 2016. Bulgarian authorities are investigating the unexplained death of a Palestinian man wanted by Israel for a 1986 killing. (AP Photo)

The widow of a fugitive Palestinian terrorist who died under mysterious circumstances in Bulgaria last month accused authorities on Wednesday of keeping her in the dark about their investigation.

Omar Nayef Zayed, who was wanted by Israel over the killing of a Jewish Israeli three decades ago, was found badly injured in the courtyard of the Palestinian embassy in Sofia on February 26. He died later in hospital.

Local media reported that the 51-year-old had fallen from the fourth floor, while a senior Palestinian Authority official said he had suffered “serious torso injuries.”

Zayed’s widow accuses Israel of assassinating him. Israeli sources have dismissed the allegation.

She said he had “sought refuge in the embassy two months ago” after receiving threats.

On Wednesday, the widow and her three children staged a protest outside the court of justice in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Omar Zayed (Channel 2)
Omar Zayed (Channel 2)

“The authorities have not given us any details about the medical examination or released my husband’s body so I can bury him,” she told AFP.

She threatened to take the case to the European Court of Justice “if the outcome… isn’t announced soon.”

But a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said no details would be revealed at this stage.

“Keeping the investigation secret is essential to our work,” Rumyana Arnaudova told AFP.

Zayed, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 over the stabbing of a 22-year-old Jewish student in Jerusalem.

He escaped four years later while being moved to hospital during a hunger strike.

After going into hiding, Zayed eventually fled to Bulgaria in 1994 and married Mahmoud, a Palestinian who holds Bulgarian citizenship.

Protesters outside the Bulgarian Embassy in London in January 2016 call on the Bulgarian government not to extradite Omar Nayef Zayed to Israel. (YouTube screen capture)
Protesters outside the Bulgarian Embassy in London in January 2016 call on the Bulgarian government not to extradite Omar Nayef Zayed to Israel. (YouTube screen capture)

Last year Sofia agreed to examine an Israeli extradition request, but a December hearing was postponed because Zayed was not at his address, the Bulgarian interior ministry said.

Jerusalem has not officially commented on the incident, but Israel Radio last month quoted “a security source” as saying that “Israel has no interest in striking an elderly terrorist, especially if it involves danger or committing resources.”

His death came hours after Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov returned from a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority where he discussed the extradition of Zayed with his Israeli counterpart and senior Palestinian officials.

The head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, attacked what he described as “a new Zionist crime.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has announced the formation of a special commission of inquiry to look into the case.

Last week, pro-Palestinian activists at the University of Amsterdam honored Zayed during an event “commemorating the victims of Israeli occupation,” as part of their Israel Apartheid Week activities.

The event’s organizers, the Students for Justice in Palestine group, claimed in a statement that Zayed “was recently murdered by the Israeli Mossad while seeking asylum in the Palestinian embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria.”

read more:
less
comments
more