‘City Destroyed, Its Mayor was Killed’ – Messages from Survivors of the Al-Zahraa Massacre

Marwan Hamad, mayor of Al-Zahraa, was killed along with his family by an Israeli airstrike. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Abdallah Aljamal – Gaza

Medical sources at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital announced last Saturday the killing of the mayor of Al-Zahraa, Marwan Hamad, and all members of his family. 

This tragic event occurred as a result of an Israeli airstrike on a civilian house where they had taken refuge after the city of Al-Zahraa was destroyed in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

“The Israeli occupation almost completely destroyed the city of Al-Zahraa. More than 24 towers in the city were targeted and completely demolished by the occupation,” Muhammad Abu Nar, one of the survivors of the Al-Zahraa massacre, told The Palestine Chronicle.

“All the city’s towers were damaged, and Israel killed the city’s mayor, Marwan Hamad,” he added.

The Youngest Mayor in Gaza

38-year-old Marwan Hamad hailed from one of the first Palestinian families to settle in the city of Al-Zahraa, south of Gaza City. 

He spent his childhood, adolescence, and youth in the city. Israeli forces arrested him before their withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and he spent several years in Israeli prisons. 

After his release, he completed his university education and worked in various media institutions. Approximately two years ago, he assumed the position of mayor of Al-Zahraa, making him the youngest mayor in the Gaza Strip.

“Marwan Hamad’s tenure as the mayor was the best period the city of Al-Zahraa has witnessed. He harnessed the capabilities of young people and involved them in the development of the city,” Sadi Abu Kamil, a young resident of Al-Zahraa, told The Palestine Chronicle.

“He succeeded in implementing several important projects, and the municipality, under his leadership, was very close to the residents and eager to provide all services to them.”

Alaa Ali, another resident of Al-Zahraa described Hamad as “close to the heart and soul, the friend in times of adversity, and the humble figure among all.” 

Ali condemned the killing, saying, “We bear witness to the fact that you possessed beautiful qualities that make you a martyr. We denounce this assassination and call on the international community to assume its responsibilities, stop the aggression, and refrain from double standards.”

We Will Never Abandon Our Land

Mohamed Al-Louh, a resident of Al-Zahraa,  expressed hope and determination in the face of the tragedy, saying, “If the occupation destroys the city, we will rebuild it from scratch.” 

“If it killed the best mayor the city ever had, the city that produced Marwan Hamad is capable of producing new young leadership that will continue with Marwan’s legacy and rebuild what the occupation has destroyed.”

Another grieving resident, Samar Sami, declared in the same vein, “The occupation will not succeed with all the killing operations it carries out in displacing us from our homeland.” 

“We will rebuild Al-Zahraa city anew, and we will rebuild all the cities and camps in the Gaza Strip. Gaza will return to be even more beautiful than it was, and we will never abandon our land.”

The last thing Mayor Marwan Hamad wrote on his social media page was: “They say: Plant a tree today under whose shade you’ll prosper tomorrow.”

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Abdallah Aljamal is a Gaza-based journalist. He is a contributor for The Palestine Chronicle from the Gaza Strip. His email is abdallahaljamal1987@gmail.com

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out