Ex-Palestine football star killed after bomb hit his home in Gaza | inside World Soccer

Ex-Palestine football star killed after bomb hit his home in Gaza

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Former Palestinian football star Ahed Zaqout has been killed by the bombs of the Israeli Defense Forces during an attack in Gaza this week.

Emergency services and neighbours rushed to the home of the 49-year-old, who was sleeping at the time of the incident, but were unable to save his life.

Zaqout was not known to belong to any particular political entity and had never expressed clear political views. He had recently been working as a coach and as host of a Palestine sports programme in Gaza.

"Palestine has lost one of its best players. He may have been the best midfielder we ever had," Khaled Zaher, a Gaza sports journalist, told Reuters.

Zaqout captained the junior national side and was a part of the Palestinian team that played a friendly against a team of French stars that included UEFA President Michel Platini in 1994.

Four years later, the country's football team was accepted into FIFA and in July 2014 reached an all-time high of 85th on the world football association's ranking.

In January, two young Palestinian footballers from Abu Dis FC, Jawhar Nasser Jawhar, 19, and Adam Abd al-Raouf Halabiya, 17, were reportedly shot by Israeli snipers, beaten up and had dogs set on them as they walked home after training. Israeli police maintain that the teenagers were moments away from attacking the nearby police base.

On March, Saji Darwish, Birzeit student and player for Beitin FC, was shot dead by soldiers near the West Bank settlement of Givat Assaf, close to Ramallah. It was alleged that he was throwing stones at vehicles belonging to Israeli settlers in the area.

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