Palestine football legend Zaqout killed in Gaza conflict

Published August 2nd, 2014 - 12:14 GMT

Palestine footballing legend Ahed Zaqout has been killed in Gaza after an Israeli shell hit the former midfielder's home while he was sleeping on Wednesday.

The 49-year-old was not politically involved in the conflict between Palestine militant group Hamas, based in Gaza where he resides, and Israel but was killed by the latter nation's IDF army's bombing of the region this week.

Emergency services and neighbours rushed to the home of the former football star - who had recently been working as a presenter for a Palestine sports programme - but were unable to save his life.

Zaqout, a midfielder before he hung up his boots, will be remembered most for taking to the pitch against a star-studded French side with included current Uefa president Michel Platini in a 1994 friendly against Palestine.

Four years later, the country's football team was accepted into Fifa and in July 2014 reached an all-time high of 85th on the world football association's ranking.

However, Palestine's hopes of improving their national team continue to be thwarted by region's conflict with Israel and the current bombardment from the IDF has killed over 1,000 citizens of Gaza.

Fifa is currently monitoring Israel over the country's alleged violations of Palestine football, including preventing players from travelling to and from matches, but sanctions against the nation were ruled out in June.

President of Fifa, Sepp Blatter, stated in late July: "I am very much concerned with this situation in the region. We are heartbroken to learn that people from the football community have been killed.

"Fifa and I personally deplore this situation and any form of violence."

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