Former Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ramadan Shalah passed away Saturday, according to a statement issued by the Palestinian resistance group.
Shalah, a key figure in the Palestinian political scene, died at 62 after suffering from an incurable disease, the group read.
Shalah, born in 1958 in Gaza, was one of the founders of the Islamic Jihad group. He lived in Lebanon and had strong ties with Syria.
He was the leader of the group between 1995 and 2018.
Today Palestine lost one of her great sons & leaders, Ramadan Shalah the former leader of the Palestine Islamic Jihad resistance movement has died after a long illness. He was 62. Our condolences to his family, friends & to all palestinians around the world. May He #RestInPeace! pic.twitter.com/ecJ7OxOZYR
— Adam Jalal 🇵🇸 Gaza (@AJGaza) June 6, 2020
Palestinians consider Shalah one of the main resistance leaders, as the Islamic Jihad played a pivotal role in fighting against several major Israeli wars targeting the besieged Gaza Strip.
“We condole the Palestinian people for the death of the great leader Ramadan Abdullah Shalah,” the Islamic Jihad statement stated, recalling “his history of struggle (against Israeli occupation) .. for over 20 years.”
“It is a sad, heart-wrenching day that we say goodbye to this great man and leader, who carried on with the sacred mission of struggle (against occupation) in the best way possible.”
— Computer Insurgent (@Hummus_fan) June 6, 2020
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas released a statement that was carried out by the official news agency WAFA, where he expressed his condolences. “By losing Shalah (Palestine) has lost a man of great integrity,” the statement in part read.
The resistance group Hamas too mourned the loss of the “son of Gaza”, who has lived in exile due to the Israeli occupation.
Shalah was “the ideal model of patience and strength .. and a legend in the struggle .. for the Palestinian cause,” Hamas said.
Fatah and other movements also issued similar statements.
Shalah had obtained a doctorate from the University of Durham in the UK in 1990, and worked as a Middle East studies lecturer in Florida between 1993 and 1995.
He became the head of Islamic Jihad after the Israeli Mossad assassinated the group’s former leader, Fathi Shukaki in Malta in 1995.
(Palestine Chronicle, Agencies, Al Jazeera Arabic)