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Rami Ayyad, manager of Gaza's only Christian bookstore, was found dead of multiple stab and gunshot wounds early Sunday, October 7.

Ayyad, 26, was kidnapped at 4:30 p.m. Saturday as he closed The Teacher's Bookshop, which is operated by the Palestinian Bible Society and located in a central part of Gaza City. No one has claimed responsibility. But Ayyad had received regular death threats for his work as the public face of the bookshop.

The interior ministry of Hamas, the ruling power in Gaza since the June ouster of its political rival Fatah, has issued a statement condemning the murder, the Associated Press reports. An AP story said Hamas has launched an investigation.

On Friday, October 5, Ayyad noticed a car lacking license plates following him, according to a Palestinian Bible Society press release. On Saturday at 6 p.m. Ayyad phoned his wife that he had been kidnapped by a group of people right after he had closed the bookstore. Ayyad told his wife that he would return home late that evening. Ayyad placed a second call with a similar message to someone else. At that time, a Bible Society official reported the incident to police in Gaza City.

According to a Reuters report:

Ayyad's mother, Anisa, said her son had telephoned his family after he was seized. "He said he was going to be with the 'people' for another two hours and that if he was not back (by then), he would not be returning for a long, long time," she said.

At 6:25 a.m. Sunday October 7, Ayyad's body was found near the bookshop. "Signs of bullets and knife stabs could be clearly seen on his body," the Bible Society release said. Unconfirmed reports added that his head had been severely injured.

Ayyad leaves behind two young children and his pregnant wife, Pauline. ...

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Christian Bookstore Manager Martyred in Gaza City
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October 2007

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