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Martyr Ashraf Na’alwa – The Fidai “Legend” Who Puzzled The Occupation

Martyr Ashraf Na’alwa – The Fidai “Legend” Who Puzzled The Occupation
folder_openAl-Ahed Translations access_time10 months ago
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Sami al-Shami

The 23-year old Palestinian, Ashraf Na'alwa, spent 67 days confusing the security services of the occupation, which utilized all available recourses from surveillance to espionage in an effort to get this fidai.

Na'alwa killed two [“Israeli”] settlers and disappeared. He was martyred during clashes with a sizable contingent of the occupation army at dawn on Thursday.

The “legend”, as people in occupied Palestine called him, started a new era. He brought back the chase to the Palestinian arena following a lull in the aftermath of the second intifada.

The “Israeli” army utilized its intelligence capabilities, the largest in the world, in order to reach Ashraf.  It took a long time for them to get to him as the West Bank becomes the scene of a complicated security situation.

Special Zionist forces, headed by the YAMAM unit, which specializes in eliminating Palestinians on the run, infiltrated one of the new neighborhoods in the Askar refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The forces surrounded a number of residential buildings where Ashraf Na'alwa had taken refuge.

Residents of the Askar refugee camp recall that "intermittent gunfire was heard 21 minutes after midnight, in a place they could not identify. Voices grew louder and faded from one moment to the next", suggesting that the occupation forces used a silencer in the assassination.

"There was a lot of noise in the area. People heard heavy gunfire and grenades inside the house where the Fidai was taking refuge. It was a house on the first floor of an apartment building belonging to the Bishkar family. The heavy gunfire and grenades coincided with raids by the occupation forces of the apartments in the building as well as nearby homes and an intensive deployment seizing full control of the region," the residents added.

The occupation announced through its media that it had intended to arrest Ashraf, but Ashraf opened fire against its forces.

Photojournalist Omair Steitieh told the Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed website about the blood spatters in the apartment where Ashraf was martyred. The house was peppered with dozens of bullet holes. The entire place and even the floor was destroyed by bombs. Windows were also broken.

The “Israeli” army took the body of the martyr. It stored it in a refrigerator as it always does with the bodies of the fidai martyrs. The forces left behind great destruction. A pool of Ashraf’s blood filled one corner of the room where he was martyred. The residents also found some books the martyr might have been reading.

The residents recall martyr Basil Al-Araj, who was killed by the occupation forces in the same way in a building in Ramallah less than a year ago.

A close friend to the Beshkar family told Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed that the “Israeli” occupation forces detained freed detainees Amjad and Fawzi Beshkar as well as Anan and Ra'ed Beshkar during their raids. Their parents were locked in rooms inside the house while they were being arrested and taken to unknown locations.

Na'alwa evaded the occupation for two months and six days. He managed to escape following his execution of a fidai operation at the Barkan industrial zone located near the city of Salfit in the northern West Bank. The operation left two settlers dead and another seriously injured.

His family was subjected to fierce attacks by the “Israeli” authorities in an attempt to pressure him to surrender. The army tried many times to arrest him after storming villages and towns it believed he was in, but failed.

On the first day of the manhunt, Ashraf’s entire family was arrested. The “Israelis” interrogated his father, mother and three sisters several times. His sister, a lecturer at Al-Najah University, was arrested for merely being his sister. She was released after spending a month in detention.

His brother, Amjad, was arrested two days after Ashraf’s operation. He is still in detention and stands accused of interfering with the “Israeli” occupation’s search operation for Ashraf.

His mother Wafaa Mahdawi has also been detained since October 17. She is accused of knowing Ashraf’s intentions to execute the shoot out operation and not preventing him.

His father Walid Na’alwa as well as his brother-in-law Nasr Shreim, who is a lecturer at the Al-Najah University, are still being detained. It remains unclear what charges they face.

In addition, an “Israeli” court ordered the demolition of the home of Ashraf Na'alwa’s family. It is a two-story structure that housed Ashraf’s family and that of his brother Amjad. The “Israeli” Supreme Court approved the demolition decision last Thursday.

During the manhunt for martyr Na'alwa, the “Israeli” occupation forces carried out dozens of raids across villages and towns in the occupied West Bank. But they failed every time they tried to arrest or liquidate him. The “Israeli” army also deployed troops at the entrances to Tulkarem and in areas where they thought he might be near by. It warned the residents not to provide Na'alwa with help and threatened to imprison them or demolish their homes should they aid him.

Hundreds of young men and women, whether they were Ashraf’s relatives or simply lived in the Shuweika neighborhood, were arrested and questioned regarding his whereabouts. This in addition to the continued closures carried out by the occupation authorities to the city of Tulkarem and Shuweika in search for Ashraf to arrest or liquidate him. All these measures date back to the day of the Barkan Operation. The subsequent collective punishment continues to plague the family as several members remain behind bars and the family home is set to be demolished.

Today, the Askar refugee camp cheered for Ashraf. Hundreds of camp residents came out to glorify him with the rest of the martyrs. A general strike took hold of Tulkarem. Shops were closed. Palestine Technical University – Kadoori suspended its classes. Laborers, school and university students and employees marched towards Ashraf’s family house to cheer for members who are not detained.

Ashraf was known for his composure, constant smile and good manners. He loved them and addressed their needs. He was raised in a family of three sisters, Fayruz, Hanadi and Sondos, and two brothers, Amjad, who is currently detained and his older brother Ayman, who works outside occupied Palestine.

The “Israeli” army admitted that getting to Ashraf was part of a complex process where it utilized modern technological means. It also clearly exhausted its capabilities and exerted great pressure to force Ashraf to surrender himself. But the latter refused to be martyred without a fight.

Source: Alaraby al-Jadeed, Translated by website team