Widow says kept in dark over terrorist's mystery death in Sofia

Wife of PFLP terrorist Omar Nayef, who died after being thrown from window of PA embassy in Bulgaria, accuses gov't of cover up.

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Nayef was a member of the PFLP (file image)
Nayef was a member of the PFLP (file image)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The widow of a Palestinian terrorist who died under mysterious circumstances in Bulgaria last month accused authorities on Wednesday of keeping her in the dark about their investigation.

Omar Nayef, who was wanted by Israel over the murder of a Jewish yeshiva student three decades ago, was found dead in the courtyard of the Palestinian Authority embassy in Sofia on February 26.

Local media reported that the 51-year-old had fallen from the fourth floor, while a senior Palestinian Authority official said he had suffered "serious torso injuries."

Nayef's widow accuses Israel of assassinating him.  

She said he had "sought refuge in the embassy two months ago" after receiving threats.

On Wednesday, the widow and her three children staged a protest outside the court of justice in the Bulgarian capital Sofia.  

"The authorities have not given us any details about the medical examination or released my husband's body so I can bury him," she told AFP.

She threatened to take the case to the European Court of Justice "if the outcome... isn't announced soon."

But a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said no details would be revealed at this stage.

"Keeping the investigation secret is essential to our work," Rumyana Arnaudova told AFP.

Nayef, a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 over the stabbing of a 22-year-old Jewish student in Jerusalem.

He escaped four years later while being moved to hospital during a hunger strike.

After going into hiding, Nayev eventually fled to Bulgaria in 1994 and married Mahmoud, a Palestinian Arab who holds Bulgarian citizenship.

AFP contributed to this report.

Last year Sofia agreed to examine an Israeli extradition request, but a December hearing was postponed because Nayef was not at his address, the Bulgarian interior ministry said.

The Israeli government has not officially commented on the incident, but Israeli public radio last month quoted "a security source" as saying that "Israel has no interest in striking at an elderly terrorist, especially if it involves danger or committing resources."

While many still believe Israeli intelligence services are the most likely culprits, others have theorized that the PA itself may have killed Nayef after realizing his continued presence at the embassy could escalate into a serious diplomatic liability.

The head of the Islamist terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, attacked what he described as "a new Zionist crime," and  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has announced the formation of a special commission of enquiry to look into the case.








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