Will the media make him a martyr? It’s not really much of a question. It’s more of a “when” than an “if”.
Regular Hamas terrorists are routinely treated as innocent civilian casualties. But two Hamas terrorists, one of whom held US citizenship and the other had spent some time in this country, being killed in an Israel airstrike, especially a targeted one, is bound to bring out the media’s inner Khashoggi.
An American citizen known as Osama al-Zebda was fighting with the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the so-called “armed wing” of Hamas, during the recent battle in Gaza. An official confirmed this with FDD’s Long War Journal, adding that al-Zebda was on a U.S. terrorist watch list.
Al-Zebda was killed by an Israeli air strike on May 12. His father – an al-Qassam commander named Jamal al-Zebda – was also killed in the strike…
Osama al-Zebda appears to have been the target of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military campaign against leaders and commanders of militant factions in Gaza. Multiple commanders and mid-level Hamas militants were reportedly killed during the 10-day operation.
It is unclear if Osama was born in the U.S. or was a naturalized citizen. However, Jamal, was described by the IDF’s Hebrew-language site as a ‘senior member of Hamas’ research and development division,’ adding that he earned a ‘PhD in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in aerodynamics.’
I can’t imagine what possible use he could have had for that PhD in “Mechanical Engineering, specializing in aerodynamics”.
A paper written by Jamal al-Zebda on aerodynamics at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1989 appears on the Aerospace Research Center’s website, suggesting Osama’s father was possibly in the United States either studying or working there. However, FDD’s Long War Journal could not independently verify if it was written by the same person.
So we’ve got a Hamas engineer trained by the United States. The Tehran Times, citing Al Jazeera, claims that, Jamal Al-Zebda “graduated with a Ph.D. degree from Virginia Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science nearly 35 years ago” and that he “studied the engine of the F-16 fighter plane, then worked at NASA space agency, before returning to Gaza to champion the Palestinian cause, according to Al Jazeera.”
“Al-Zebda worked in secret under the eyes of a resistance commander called Muhammad Deif to develop its military capabilities, heading a group of local engineers and experts, working day and night to turn the scarce resources in the Gaza Strip into advanced tools facing the occupation army. Al-Zebda graduated a large generation of engineers from the Islamic University and secretly recruited hundreds of them to work in the secret program of the resistance to develop its military tools, especially with regard to missiles and drones, according to the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper.”
Translated from Jihadi-speak, Al-Zebda was working on missile attacks against Israel before he was taken out.