How did Naif Hassan Omar Zaid die?
That’s the question on the minds of Bulgarian police, friends of the now-deceased PFLP terrorist, and the relatives of the man he murderer in 1986.
Zaid, a member of the radical left-wing Arab terror organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, murdered yeshiva student Eliyahu Amadi in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1986.
In 1990 while serving life sentence, Zaid initiated a hunger strike and was transferred to an Israeli hospital. He managed to escape, eventually making his way to Bulgaria, where he lived for the past 22 years.
Last Friday, Zaid was found dead in the yard of the Palestinian Authority embassy in Bulgaria.
Initial reports from prosecutors claimed that there were signs of violence on the body. The Bulgarian news service Novinite reported claims that Zaid’s body was found covered in blood.
But prosecutors later retracted their initial claims, stating that there were no signs of violence on the body.
Officials in the PA and PFLP were quick to accuse Israel of being behind Zaid’s death. According to the Jordanian newspaper Ma’an, PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered an investigation into Zaid’s death.
Israel has denied responsibility.
But some see the timing of Zaid’s death, coming on the heels of Israeli calls for extradition, to be more than mere coincidence.
Last December, Israel demanded that Zaid surrender himself for extradition, giving him 72 hours to turn himself in to authorities.
Fearing arrest, Zaid found refuge in the PA embassy in Sofia, where he had stayed for the past two months.
Investigators now believe Zaid may have fallen to his death from an upper story in the embassy, thought they have not ruled out other possibilities.
Yaffa Pinhasi, the sister of Zaid’s victim in the 1986 terror attack, believes Israel was indeed behind Zaid’s death, telling Channel 1 that she praised “whoever did this”.