Death in Gaza
Rami Ayyad, a member of the Gaza Baptist Church in Palestine and the manager of the Bible Society bookstore in Gaza, was found murdered Sunday morning, October 7. Ayyad went missing the previous day after closing the bookstore he managed. A source inside Gaza gave the following details:
“On Saturday afternoon Rami closed his shop as he always did at 4:30. He had told his brother that three days earlier he had sensed he was being followed home after work but had not made much of it. Two hours after closing up he called his wife and told her with much uncertainty that he hoped to be home in two hours and not to worry. He was not able to say where he was or why he was there. Rami never came home.
Friends and family searched for him until late into the night. At 5:30 on Sunday morning his body was found beaten, a bullet through his head, another through his chest. His wallet, ID and watch were gone.”
Hanna Massad, pastor of Gaza Baptist Church, called the father of two a martyr and claimed Ayyad “Was under severe pressure to leave his faith and convert to another faith; but he refused and he was willing to pay the ultimate price – his own life.”
In informing the Baptist World Alliance of the incident, Massad said that “Even though we are proud of Rami’s faithfulness, we are nevertheless going through a very difficult time.”
The Gaza Bible Society, which is run by Massad’s wife, Suhad, has been attacked several times in the recent past. On April 15, the building was damaged by a bomb blast. The bombers first kidnapped the security guard, took him to another area of the city and beat him before setting off the bomb at the Bible Society building. The Society was previously attacked in 2006 when two pipe bombs exploded, damaging the building.
Massad indicated that “The Bible Society team will need to leave Gaza for a while,” and that “Life is very dangerous in Gaza. We do not know who will be next.”
Problems in Gaza stem from the blockade and the occasional bombing imposed by Israel, as well as from fighting among Palestinians, most notably the often violent standoff between the two major parties, Hamas, which controls the parliament, and Fatah, which controls the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority. Small radical, hard-line Muslim groups have bombed offices and businesses that they believe aid debauchery and adultery, such as Internet cafes where it is believed pornography may be accessed.
Ayyad, buried on October 7, but for whom a memorial service was held at the Gaza Baptist Church on Sunday morning, October 14, leaves wife Pauline who is four months pregnant, and sons, two and a half year old George and ten-month old Wetham. Ayyad would have turned 30 on October 23.
-Pray for God’s comfort and strength for Pauline Ayyad and her children.
-Pray for God’s guidance and direction for Pastor Hanna Massad and the congregation of the Gaza Baptist Church.