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Ma’an tweeted a casual report yesterday, which in light of recent attacks on Palestinian camps in Syria, is not all that special.
— Ma’an News Agency (@MaanNewsAgency) December 28, 2012
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man from Gaza City was killed on Friday during fighting in Syria, relatives told Ma’an.
Muhammad Qunneita, 31, was killed in Idlib, northwest Syria, his brother Bakr told Ma’an. Muhammad had only arrived in Syria four months ago, he added.
In November, the PLO said that around 600 Palestinians had been killed in the Syrian conflict.
My spidey sense was tingling when I read the bold part. Sure enough, today we got the full story:
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man who was killed in Syria on Friday was a senior figure in Hamas’ armed wing, rebels and Hamas officials said Saturday.
Muhammad Qunneita, 31, from Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, had been in Syria for four months, his brother told Ma’an.
Rebels told Reuters on Saturday Qunneita was killed in fighting around Aleppo airport where he had been helping to train Arab and Muslim fighters. Activists in Syria also said he had been a prominent figure in Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades.
After Qunneita died on Friday, Hamas-affiliated news site Palestine Now described him as a Al-Qassam field commander, quoting a military official in Gaza.
He had trained several rebel brigades during his time in Syria, and was fatally wounded during the storming of Idlib airport on Thursday, the report said.
But a Hamas source in Gaza told Reuters Qunneita had left the Hamas brigade and joined a jihadi group before leaving for Syria to fight there.
The exiled leadership of Hamas was based in Damascus until earlier this year, when officials from the Sunni Islamist movement, which sympathizes with the uprising against Assad, quietly pulled out.
Here he is playing “Where’s Waldo” with Ismail Hanniyeh:
The question is, what was he doing in Syria in the first place? This might answer that question:
A Gaza mosque announced the martyrdom of Qassam brigades commander Mujahid Mohammed Ahmed Bakr Qunneita (Falcon, as he was nicknamed in Gaza) during jihad mission in Syria , where he worked as coach of the mujahideen there, and specifically in the front of the Free Syrian Army fighting the Baathist regime.It is worth mentioning that the martyred leader Ahmed Jabari had sent several mujahideen qualified to train the mujahideen in Syria, and that the martyr is a member of the special force in the Al-Qassam Brigades, and one of the leaders in training and preparing the military.At the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, the martyr was contacted by his brothers in Gaza and he said “Forgive me that I was not with you there”, so they asked him to return to Gaza because they and Qassam brigades need him.He said them: “I can’t, I’m happy in Syria”.