BEIRUT

Middle East

Thousands mourn slain wife, baby of Hamas commander

Palestinians take part in the funeral of the wife of Hamas' military leader, Mohammad Deif, his infant son Ali and other Palestinians whom medics said were killed in Israeli airstrikes, in the northern Gaza Strip August 20, 2014. (REUTERS/Mohammad Salem)

JABALYA, Palestine: Several thousand mourners Wednesday joined the funeral procession for the wife and baby son of Hamas' military commander Mohammad Deif, angrily demanding revenge against Israel.

Firing Kalashnikovs into the air, they carried the bodies of 27-year-old Widad and her seven-month-old son Ali, who were among at least four people killed in a deadly airstrike on Gaza City late Tuesday.

The two bodies were wrapped in green Hamas flags as they were carried from the mosque to the cemetery in Jabalya refugee camp. Mourners also carried the flag-wrapped bodies of two men killed in an airstrike Wednesday on a motorcycle, both presumed Hamas militants.

"Revenge, revenge, revenge," shouted the crowd as they walked towards the cemetery waving Hamas flags and denouncing the killing of the second wife and infant son of Deif, head of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

"We were shocked when we heard that Mohammad Deif's wife had been killed. We ask Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades to avenge this killing, this massacre," said a 22-year-old mourner who gave his name as Mohammad.

"I'm like all the other people in the Gaza Strip. I am no different from the others who have lost children. This is like a tsunami," said Widad's angry father, Mustafa Harb Asfura, 56.

When his university-educated daughter married Deif seven years ago, her father feared it was a death sentence.

"My daughter knew she would die a martyr when she decided to marry Mohammad Deif. Every moment since then I've been expecting to hear that she has died," he said.

Grief-stricken, Asfura carried his tiny grandson from the family's small home in Jabalya for prayers at the mosque, his body wrapped in a white sheet exposing his white face with bruising around the eyes.

Male relatives carried Widad's body, wrapped in a green Hamas flag and white sheet, on their shoulders.

Asfura said he had only seen his son-in-law once, when the couple married.

After that, he didn't even know where his daughter was living, such is the secrecy that surrounds Deif in his determination to avoid detection by Israel.

Widad and Deif had two daughters and a son together. She also had two sons from a first marriage, the family said.

It was not clear where the couple's two girls were when the strike happened.

Hundreds of people crowded into the mosque for the funeral prayers but there was no sign of any Hamas officials.

Addressing the mourners, a young man passed on the condolences of the Qassam and prayers were read for two other men, who died earlier Wednesday when a rocket hit their motorcycle in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.

A small group of women also entered the mosque to attend the prayers. Wearing black abayas, they stayed in a separate room, sobbing in grief.

 

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Summary

Several thousand mourners Wednesday joined the funeral procession for the wife and baby son of Hamas' military commander Mohammad Deif, angrily demanding revenge against Israel.

The two bodies were wrapped in green Hamas flags as they were carried from the mosque to the cemetery in Jabalya refugee camp. Mourners also carried the flag-wrapped bodies of two men killed in an airstrike Wednesday on a motorcycle, both presumed Hamas militants.

Widad and Deif had two daughters and a son together. She also had two sons from a first marriage, the family said.

Hundreds of people crowded into the mosque for the funeral prayers but there was no sign of any Hamas officials.


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