Hamas Riddles Former Spokesman With Bullet Holes, Dumps Body at Hospital, Then Blames Israel for Death
by Joshua Levitt
Former Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha was executed by firing squad on Tuesday with bullet holes to his head and chest, his body dumped in front of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, where it laid untouched for an hour, before gunmen returned to remove it from the scene, the Al-Quds daily reported in Arabic late Thursday citing unnamed sources.
Al Quds said that Hamas banned publication of the story of his death, but then later said the body was at the hospital.
On Friday, Hamas issued a statement, reported by AFP without mentioning the Al Quds version, that Israeli forces had “targeted him in the apartment where he was with several others in Gaza City” in the Sheja’iya neighborhood. AFP cited a medical source as saying that the body was brought to the “hospital in Gaza City before it was transferred to his family’s home in the Bureij camp.”
In midst of its war with Israel, Hamas executed some two dozen Gazans it alleged were collaborators with Israel in Sheja’iya during a momentary ceasefire. It also blamed those deaths on Israel, though it later admitted to carrying out executions.
On Friday, Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh recounted the story of Taha’s imprisonment in 2013 for alleged corruption and spying, believed to be on behalf of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, in an article published by the Gatestone Institute.
Toameh cited a veteran journalist living in Gaza City who had close ties with Taha on Thursday as saying Taha was executed because “Hamas feared he might implicate some of its leaders in many corruption scandals.”
Taha was the son of Mohammed Taha, one of the most prominent leaders of Hamas and former director of the Islamic University, in Gaza City.
“Interestingly, Taha was executed for collaboration with the Egyptians exactly at the same time that senior representatives of Hamas were negotiating in Cairo with the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service about ways of achieving a permanent cease-fire with Israel,” Toameh wrote. “The execution is apparently aimed at sending a message to the Egyptians that Hamas would not tolerate Cairo’s attempt to meddle in the internal affairs of the Islamist movement. A Hamas source said that the arrest of Taha was a ‘severe blow’ to the Egyptians because they had lost one of their most important informants inside the movement.”