Muhammad Youssef al-Najjar

Muhammad Youssef Al-Najjar (محمد يوسف النجار; 11 June 1930 - 10 April 1973), commonly known as Abu Youssef, was a Palestinian terrorist who was assassinated by Israel over alleged involvement in the 1972 Munich massacre.

Life

Originally from Yibna, he was forced to leave his home village in 1948 by the Israeli forces when he settled with his family in the Rafah Camp, Gaza Strip. He worked as a teacher until 1954 when he went to Egypt to study law at Cairo University. +more He was qualified from Egypt as a lawyer. When the Fatah organization formed in the late 1950s, Youssef was an early activist, traveling to Qatar to form similar groups, and taking command of Fatah's military wing.

In 1968, Youssef was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). He also was a member of the Palestinian National Congress, and the Palestinian parliament in exile. +more Before his death, Youssef was interviewed by the Beirut newspaper L'Orient-Le Jour. In the interview, he explained his conviction to the Palestinian cause: "We plant the seeds, and the others will reap the harvest. Most probably we'll all die, killed because we are confronting a fierce enemy. But the youth will replace us".

Youssef was allegedly involved in planning the 1972 Munich massacre, in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by the Black September group. This prompted Israel to launch a revenge campaign called Operation Wrath of God, with Youssef as a principal target. +more In 1973, Israel sent commandos to Beirut, Lebanon to kill a number of high level PLO officials in the 1973 Israeli raid on Lebanon. Youssef and his wife were killed by gunfire in their bedroom when Israeli commandos stormed into their Beirut apartment.

Legacy

The Mohammed Yousef El-Najar Hospital in Rafah was named after him.

His grandson, Ammar Campa-Najjar, ran in 2018 as a Democrat to represent California's 50th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, losing to the incumbent Republican Duncan Hunter. +more Campa-Najjar ran again in 2020, but lost to former congressman Darrell Issa.