Senior PLO official and ex-Nablus mayor dies

"Palestine lost a fighter and a great national figure," Abbas said.

January 26, 2018 14:45
1 minute read.
Senior PLO official and ex-Nablus mayor dies

Ghassan al-Shakaa (R) member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) talks to Mahmoud al-Khalidi, then Palestinian ambassador to Syria on September 25, 2001. (REUTERS / Khaled al-Hariri). (photo credit: REUTERS/KHALED AL-HARIRI)

Ghassan al-Shakaa, a senior PLO official and former mayor of Nablus, died on Thursday, the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa reported. He was 75. Shakaa died after a bout with colon cancer, according to PA Health Ministry spokesman Osama Najjar.

Shakaa, who was a lawyer by training, was a member of the PLO Executive Committee for more than 20 years and served as mayor of Nablus in 1994-2004 and 2012-2015. He also was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council – the PA parliament – in 1996.

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Following the news of the Shakaa’s death, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “Palestine lost a fighter and a great national figure... who spent his life serving his people and defending their rights.” In a statement, Fatah said that the senior PLO official “will remain an example of struggle, giving, sacrifice and patience.”

On Friday, thousands – including senior Palestinian officials such as PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and wealthy businesspeople – took part in a funeral procession for Shakaa in Nablus.

Shakaa was a nephew of Bassam Shakaa, also a former mayor of Nablus, who lost both of his legs in a car-bombing assassination attempt by the Jewish underground in the West Bank in 1980.

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