Amman bombing kills Mustafa Al Akkad and his daughter

Published November 29th, 2005 - 06:58 GMT

Internationally well-known Syrian director Mustafa Al Akkad was one of the victims of Wednesday night's terrorist attacks in Jordan. Al Akkad died of his wounds Friday morning after his daughter died on the spot.


Al Akkad had come to Jordan from Syria and his daughter came from Lebanon to attend a wedding ceremony scheduled to take place on Friday November 12 in Aqaba and was staying at one of the hotels that were attacked. The director was waiting in the lobby of the Hyatt Amman Hotel to greet his daughter, who entered at the same time the bombing took place and was killed instantly.


Suicide bombers, likely al Qaeda members, carried out nearly simultaneous attacks on three hotels in Amman Wednesday night, killing at least 56 people and injuring about 100.


The blasts hit the Grand Hyatt, Radisson SAS and Days Inn hotels just before 9 p.m. One of the blasts took place at a wedding hall where 300 guests were celebrating - joined by a man strapped with explosives who had infiltrated the crowd.

Mustafa was born and raised in Aleppo. He studied methods of staging motion pictures and television productions and graduated with a degree in Theatrical Arts from University of California in Los Angeles. He began work in MGM on the movie Ride the High Country then moved to CBS News Department. He then formed Akkad International Productions to produce and direct documentaries and feature movies.


One of his documentaries Ceaser’s World was a big hit and was broadcasted throughout the USA, enabling him to open offices for his company in Beirut, London, and Hollywood.


In 1972, he founded Filmco International Production and used it to produce and direct his first blockbuster in the Arab world called al-Risallah (The Message). The movie was released in 1976 and got warm responses from Arab viewers, prompting him to make an English version of it for release in the USA. It starred Anthony Quinn as Hamza, the uncle of Prophet Mohammed and be called Mohammed the Messenger of God. It was the first time in movie history that a feature film with leading names deals with the Muslim community and the beginnings of Islam.


Mustafa went on to produce and direct his bestseller, Lion of the Desert in 1981, also staring Anthony Quinn. This movie covered the life and struggle of Libyan nationalist Omar al-Mukhtar, who led an armed revolt against the Italian occupation of Libya and who Benito Mussolini executed in 1932.


In 1978, Mustafa produced his long-time Hollywood classic Halloween. A low-budget horror movie, it cost no more than $300,000 but upon its release in 1978, was an instant sucsess in the USA.


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