UK to Investigate Death of Palestinian Cartoonist Naji Al-Ali 30 Years Later

A cartoon by Naji Al-Ali.

British counterterrorism police have reopened an investigation into the murder of Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali 30 years after he was shot and killed in London, according to BBC News.

The Metropolitan Police have appealed for information about the gunman and a second man seen driving away from the scene on July 22, 1987. They have also released an updated sketch of the shooter to show what the man may look like today.

Al-Ali, one of the Arab world’s most popular satirical cartoonists, was known for his outspoken criticism of Israel, the US and Arab governments, including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat. He had reportedly received some 100 death threats, but continued to condemn Israel’s occupation and what he considered the inadequacies of the Palestinian leadership.

Al-Ali’s most famous creation was Handala; the refugee boy, always seen from behind as he observes various scenes of Israel’s occupation, is used in numerous pro-Palestinian resources to this day.

The cartoonist was often regarded as a voice for dispossessed Palestinians, described by the Guardian in 1984 as “the nearest thing there is to an Arab public opinion”. He was particularly dismayed by the traction gained by the two-state solution, which he viewed as acceptance that Palestinians would never regain the entirety of their homeland.

Al-Ali was on Ives Street, Knightsbridge, outside the office of Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, for whom he drew political caricatures, when he was shot in the back of the neck. Witnesses reported seeing two men following him in the moments before the shooting, one of whom escaped by running down Draycott Avenue; the other drove off in a silver Mercedes.

Al-Ali was taken to hospital, where he remained in a coma until he died over a month later, on August 29, 1987.

Thirty years later, the case has been reopened in the hope of shedding light on the shooter who was never identified.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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