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Front Page Saturday, October 26, 2002  
Overseas tragedy felt in Eastern Iowa; I.C. woman's sister killed in West Bank

By Sara Faiwell
The Gazette
Sunday, October 13, 2002, 8:46:51 PM

IOWA CITY -- An Iowa City woman is grieving the loss of her sister who was shot Friday, allegedly by Israeli soldiers in Nablus.

Amal Al-Jurf, 60, said her sister, Shaden Abu-Hijleh, 62, was shot in the heart with no provocation after Israeli soldiers drove up to her home in the West Bank and opened fire.

"This is not the first time they are shooting at people," said Al-Jurf, a housewife who has lived in Iowa City for 25 years. "No one else has the ability to shoot people like this besides Israeli soldiers."

The Associated Press reported Friday that Abu-Hijleh, a school teacher, died of a shot to the heart that Palestinian witnesses said came from someone in an Israeli military vehicle.

It also was reported that the Israeli army was unaware of any shooting.

Family members say Abu-Hijleh was sitting on her front porch enjoying the afternoon breeze before she was killed. Her husband and one of her sons also were shot Friday, but they remain in stable condition.

Last week, all the windows in Abu-Hijleh's home were shot out, as well.

Family members say Abu-Hijleh was known in her community for aiding poor families and providing money and gift baskets to those who were less fortunate.

Abu-Hijleh had other Iowa City ties besides her sister. All four of her children graduated from the University of Iowa within the last 10 years.

Jayne Finch, 31, Abu-Hijleh's daughter-in-law, said her husband Rami Abu-Hijleh went to the Middle East on Friday for his mother's funeral.

Rami Abu-Hijleh graduated from the UI in 1994 with a degree in biomedical engineering, and later received a master's degree in electrical engineering.

The couple now live in Mount Prospect, Ill.

"U.S. taxpayers should know that they helped pay for the bullet that ripped through my mother-in-law's heart," said Finch. "This is not a unique story."

Finch handed out fliers Saturday at a peace rally in the Pedestrian Mall to promote awareness about the conflict in the Middle East. She said she plans to hand out more information on other college campuses in Illinois and Iowa in the next few days.

"People don't know what's going on there," said Finch. "The major media networks cannot even get in there to show people what is happening."

Abu-Hijleh's other children -- Raed, 32; Saed, 35; and Lana, 38 -- moved to the West Bank after graduating from the UI.


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