The Palestinian Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip has reported that a former political prisoner was shot and stabbed to death, on Sunday evening, by several assailants near his home in the Saudi neighborhood, west of Rafah, in the southern part of the coastal region.

Eyewitnesses said unknown gunmen opened fire at Jaber al-Qeeq, 50, while walking with his sons, and that the assailants also stabbed him before fleeing the scene.

Eyad al-Bozom, the spokesperson of the Interior Ministry in Gaza, said the Palestinian was rushed to Abu Yousef an-Najjar hospital, but succumbed to his serious wounds.

Al-Bozom added that al-Qeeq was a Palestinian officer and was attacked near the main entrance of the Internal Security building, west of Rafah.

The people who attacked him were masked and riding a motorcycle before; they shot him in the head, then proceeded to stab him in the neck.

It is worth mentioning that the slain Palestinian, a senior member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was serving a sentence of six life terms in Israeli prisons before he was released as part of the Oslo agreement in the mid 1990’s. His release came after he spent more than 15 years in prison.

On Monday at dawn, the Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza published pictures of three suspects who are believed to be behind the fatal shooting and stabbing attack, and called on anybody who has any information about their whereabouts to contact its offices; it also warned of severe punitive measures against those who aid and abet them.

The names published in the statement of the Interior Ministry are Shadi Sobhi Hamdan Soufi, 37, Fadi Sobhi Hamdan Soufi, 35, and Diab Khaled Diab ad-Dabari, 19.

Snapshot of the statement published by Gaza’s Interior Ministry’s Facebook Page

Although it cannot be confirmed, reports claim that, many years ago, al-Qeeq killed another Palestinian identified as Sobhi Soufi for “being an informant working for the Israeli security,” and that the family now killed al-Qeeq as an act of vengeance; they also claim their son was not an informant, and was murdered without any justification.

On its part, Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), issued a statement warning against “all attempts to smear the reputation of al-Qeeq, by publishing false narrative and lies to justify the crime.”

It added that the original decision made by the PFLP leadership during the first Palestinian Intifada (which started in the late 1980s) to assassinate Sobhi Soufi was an official decision, for being a collaborator with Israel, and did not carry any personal or criminal motives.

It also vowed to retaliate and to punish those responsible for al-Qeeq’s murder.

Snapshot of the statement published by Gaza’s Interior Ministry on their official webpage