The editor-in-chief of the Sudanese daily newspaper Al-Tayar was severely beaten by assailants Saturday night because he had recently called on his country to normalize its ties to Israel, Agence-France Presse reported.
Seven masked gunman entered the newspaper’s office in Sudan’s capital city of Khartoum right before iftar, the breaking of the fast at sundown during Ramadan, and beat Osman Mirghani over his so-called “disgraceful position” on Israel, eyewitnesses told the Sudan Tribune. Mirghani was then taken to Al-Zaytouna Hospital in the same city.
“They just started beating him in his head, in his leg, using the guns and the sticks,” Sudanese journalist Faisal Mohamed Salih told AFP. “They ordered the journalists to lay down. They collected all the mobile phones and the laptops. They cut all the computer connections.”
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— Shawgi Mahadi ™ (@shawgi) July 19, 2014
Recently, Mirghani was featured on a local television program calling on Sudan to “normalize” its ties with Israel.
Most of Sudan’s population is Muslim, and shariah, the Islamic legal code, has been enforced there since the 1980s.
Tensions between Islamic countries and Israel have been high this week after Israel launched first an airstrike campaign and then a ground invasion in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.
Sudan has long been a supporter of Hamas. In 2012, Israeli officials accused its government of helping the Gazan government smuggle arms from Iran into the Palestinian territory, as noted in the Jerusalem Post. A recent New York Times article backed that claim, stating that in 2008 Hamas was able to double its artillery reach by using Iranian Fajr-5 rockets smuggled through Sudan and Egypt.
The day before Mirghani was attacked, the main clerical authority in Sudan issued a fatwa forbidding anyone to suggest they deal with the so-called Zionist entity as it would hurt Muslims’ feelings, the Sudan Tribune said.