Gunmen wearing Presidential Guard uniforms stopped a taxi carrying al-Ashi, 25, an economics editor for the Hamas-affiliated daily Palestine, and Mohammad Matar Abdo, 25, a manager responsible for distribution and civic relations, Editor-in-Chief Mustafa al-Sawaf told CPJ. The taxi was stopped at 2:30 p.m. in a high-security area southwest of Gaza City that was controlled by Fatah, al-Sawaf and other journalists told CPJ.
Al-Sawaf said the two men were beaten before being shot on a public street. Al-Ashi died at the scene, while Abdo was taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he died at 3 a.m. on May 14, al-Sawaf and CPJ sources said. The description was based on interviews with eyewitnesses and an account that Abdo provided his brother before he died, al-Sawaf said.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate and the Palestinian Journalists Block both denounced the killings. Mohamed Edwan, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said Fatah had nothing to do with the killings and that presidential guards were instructed to shoot only in self-defense. He said Fatah condemned the killings and urged that the perpetrators be punished.
Al-Ashi and Abdo were scheduled to meet with economic and tourism organizations in Gaza that afternoon, al-Sawaf told CPJ. The fledgling Palestine newspaper was launched in May. The murders came amid clashes in the coastal strip between the Fatah and Hamas factions.