Footballer Ahmad Abu al-Atta killed in Gaza

Palestinian soccer player Ahmad Abu al-Atta and his family were killed in their home by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) said.

Abu al-Atta who played as a defender for the Gaza Strip team Al-Ahly Gaza, died along with his wife Ruba Esmael Abu al-Atta, a medical professional, and their two children after the airstrike hit their home in Gaza City, the PFA said in a statement released on Saturday.

Local media reported that the airstrike took place on Friday, but the PFA did not give a date.

Last Monday, the PFA said international referee Hani Mesmeh had died after sustaining wounds from an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip in May.

More than 300 athletes, referees and sports officials have been killed since the start of the conflict in Gaza in October 2023 with all sports facilities in Gaza demolished, President of the Palestinian Olympic Committee Jibril Rajoub said this month.

They also included soccer player Mohammed Barakat, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in March, and FIFA International Assistant Referee Mohammed Khattab, who was killed along with his wife and four children in an Israeli assault in the Gazan neighbourhood of Deir Al Balah in February.

At least 37,598 Palestinians have been killed and 86,032 others injured in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza since Oct. 7, the Gaza health ministry said on Sunday.

By Israel’s count more than 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage in the Oct 7 cross-border attacks by Hamas which sparked the military retaliation in Gaza.

In May, global soccer governing body FIFA ordered an urgent legal evaluation of a proposal by the Palestinian Football Association (PFA), backed by the Asian Football Confederation, to suspend Israel from all club and national competitions over the war in Gaza. FIFA said it would address the issue at an extraordinary meeting of its council in July.

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