Moroccan journalist accuses senior Islamic Jihad official of sexual assault

Female editor of Cyprus-based magazine claims PIJ deputy leader Ziad al-Nakhaleh assaulted her in hotel room in Beirut last week.

Sexual harassment victim [Illustrative] (photo credit: INIMAGE)
Sexual harassment victim [Illustrative]
(photo credit: INIMAGE)
A Moroccan female editor has accused the deputy head of Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhaleh, of sexually assaulting her during a recent visit to Beirut.
Amal Ahmed, editor of the Cyprus-based Al-Amal al-Arabi (“The Arab Hope”) magazine, claimed that the attempted rape took place in a hotel room in the Lebanese capital on September 12.
The Lebanese online newspaper Lebanon Debate reported that the editor came to Beirut to interview the head of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah.
In an exclusive report entitled, “This is what happened in room 530 of the Coral Beach Hotel between the female journalist and His Excellency the Sheikh,” the newspaper said that Amal Ahmed arrived in Beirut after being promised an interview with the Islamic Jihad leader.
“She was met at the Rafik Hariri International Airport by Shalah’s deputy, much to her astonishment,” the newspaper said. “She headed to the hotel together with Nakhaleh, who stayed with her as she checked into the hotel.”
According to the report, the editor then headed to her room after parting with the senior Islamic Jihad official.
“After 15 minutes, and as she was arranging her belongings in the room, she heard a knock on the door,” the report said.
“She thought it was a hotel employee who wanted something, but was surprised to see Nakhaleh, who asked to come in for coffee. She welcomed him and the two headed to the room’s balcony.”
The report said that after a few minutes Nakhaleh pounced on her.
“She screamed in his face and fled into the room,” the report continued. “But he chased her and threw her onto the bed and tried to force himself on her. The editor says she pushed him and shouted in his face: ‘Don’t you know, Mr. Sheikh, that adultery is a crime?’ His response was: “I will marry you after we finish.’” The report quoted Ahmed as saying that Nakhaleh then got up and left the room, leaving her behind in a state of shock for two hours.
She then filed a complaint with the hotel management.
Later, she also filed a complaint with the Beirut police against Nakhaleh, who has since refused to report for interrogation, promoting the authorities to issue a warrant against him.
The editor, whose photo was published by the Lebanese newspaper, said that she later received a phone call from a senior Islamic Jihad official in the Gaza Strip who offered her a large sum of money in return for dropping the charges against Nakhaleh.
She said she rejected the offer.
“I told him, I don’t want your money,” she was quoted as saying.
“I’m from a well-known family from Morocco.”
Islamic Jihad has a different version of the story. A senior official with the group told the Ramallah-based Wattan online newspaper that the Moroccan woman was in fact on a mission to assassinate the leader of Islamic Jihad.
The official confirmed that Nakhaleh had escorted the woman from the airport to her hotel after she asked to interview his leader, and that he went to receive her at the airport because he thought that she was close to the royal family in Morocco.
He claimed that it was the woman who invited Nakhaleh to her room, but that he left immediately “after noticing that something was being prepared.”
The Islamic Jihad official said that his organization was convinced that the Moroccan editor was part of a scheme by “Mossad or an Arab or Western intelligence agency to assassinate Ramadan Shalah or his deputy, Ziad al-Nakhaleh.”
The official claimed that the woman had impersonated a journalist and that this was not her real name, adding that Islamic Jihad did not have any proof that she was a Moroccan national. He said that Islamic Jihad has launched its own investigation into the case and was dealing with it as a security issue.