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July 28, 2014 10:40 am
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Deputy Editor of Egypt’s Al-Ahram Dies Just Weeks After Penning Controversial Article Supporting Netanyahu Against Hamas

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Azza Sami, 51, Deputy Editor of Egypt's'Al Ahram newspaper, who died on July 24, 2014. Photo: Facebook.

Azza Sami, 51, Deputy Editor of Egypt's'Al Ahram newspaper, who died on July 24, 2014. Photo: Facebook.

Azza Sami, 51, Deputy Editor of Egypt’s‘Al Ahram newspaper, was reported to have died on Thursday while on vacation at an Egyptian resort. No further details were mentioned by Al Ahram, which announced her death, leading bloggers to question if her demise was tied to a controversy she sparked three weeks ago, when Sami thanked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, by name, for taking on Hamas in Gaza.

“Bless you, Netanyahu, may Allah make a lot of people like you to destroy Hamas,” Sami wrote on Facebook three weeks ago in a post that has since been removed, blogger Elder of Ziyon noted on Monday.

In the post, she called Hamas, “the base of corruption, treachery and being an agent for the (Muslim) Brotherhood. By Allah, whoever tells me ‘forbidden (to say this),’ I don’t know what I’ll do.”

In the following days, Sami responded to criticism in the Arabic press and took to Twitter to explain her post; that she did support Netanyahu taking down Hamas, the Gazan arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in Egypt, but in no way did she call for an attack on Gaza. She also said her Facebook post wasn’t written to reflect the views of her newspaper.

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Elder of Ziyon reported that she said:  “I’d like to make my position clear. I did indeed make fun of Netanyahu that he threatened to finish Hamas off despite the fact that for years he hasn’t been able to deal with it, and he even had to run to [Former Egyptian President Mohammed] Morsi in order to have a ceasefire with (Hamas). The US administration praised Morsi for his success in this.”

“As for Hamas and my accusation of it that it is treasonous: I believe I haven’t said anything new,” she said. “I made my position clear for the Palestinian people, that I didn’t mean to call for striking Gaza. I haven’t mentioned Gaza with even one word. My (Facebook) page is private and it doesn’t express the newspaper’s opinion.”

One commenter on the EoZ site said: “This is very disturbing. Will we ever know the true reason for her untimely passing? Is this just a mere coincidence? Will there be an investigation and autopsy report made public?”

“Middle East Monitor had a article recently that referred to Egypt as Zionist Egypt. If everyone who praises Israel even on one rare occasion or simply condemns Israels enemies is labeled a Zionist with the understanding that Zionism is the greatest evil according to Arab world, then it truly is suicidal for someone living in Arab world to in any way align or be perceived as aligning themselves with Israel. Azza Sami is one martyr that should be remembered and respected, in similar vein as Anwar Sadat.”

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