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  1. ITV Report

Fresh appeal over Palestinian cartoonist murdered in London street 30 years ago

Naji Salim Hussain Al-Ali died over a month after being shot. Credit: PA

Police have re-opened the case of a Palestinian political cartoonist who was murdered in broad daylight on a London street 30 years ago.

Naji Salim Hussain Al-Ali was shot in the neck as he walked through Knightsbridge in west London, on 22 July 1987, and would eventually die of his injuries six weeks later.

The 51-year-old's cartoons for Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas were said to be critical of the Palestinian regime, which saw him receive a number of death threats.

Mr Al-Ali was followed by the suspected assailant for around 40 seconds prior to the cartoonist being shot in the back of the neck.

It is hoped by detectives that a change in allegiances from those who know the person who killed Mr Al-Ali, as well as a second suspect who was later scene driving away from the scene, could be key to solving the murder.

An artist's impression of the man who shot Mr Al-Ali. Credit: Met Police

Some Middle Eastern commentators claimed he was murdered by the Palestine Liberation Organisation who were aiming to silence their critics in Europe and the Middle East at the time.

maintained he had been killed as part of a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) campaign to silence its critics in Europe and the Middle East, but the PLO denied this.

Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police's counter terrorism command, said: "The brutal murder of Mr Al-Ali devastated his family and 30 years on they continue to feel the loss.

"We have previously reviewed this case and followed a number of lines of inquiry which have not resulted in us identifying these two men.

"However, a lot can change in 30 years - allegiances shift and people who were not willing to speak at the time of the murder may now be prepared to come forward with crucial information.

"We remain open-minded about the motive for Mr Al-Ali's murder and we believe there are people somewhere who have information that could help us bring those responsible for his murder to justice."

Mr Al-Ali was shot in Ives Street. Credit: Google Maps

In the lead up to Mr Al-Ali being shot, he parked his car on Ixworth Place, then walked to Draycott Avenue and onto Ives Street.

The suspected gunman was seen by witnesses, who described him as being of Middle-Eastern appearance and aged about 25, with collar-length thick black hair that was wavy at the back. He was wearing a stonewashed denim jacket and dark trousers, police said.

Witnesses said the suspected gunman got close to Mr Al-Ali with a the gun in hand.

Another man, also of Middle-Eastern appearance, was seen crossing Fulham Road into Lucan Place where he got into the driver's seat of a silver-grey left-hand drive Mercedes following the incident.

It is thought he was concealing something, as witnesses saw him running with his left hand inside the right side of his jacket.

The weapon used - a 7.62 Tokarev pistol - was located on the Hallfield Estate in Paddington almost two years after the murder in 1989.

The cartoonist's son, Osama Al-Ali, said his family wanted to know what happened to him to provide them with closure.

In a statement released through police, he said: "Lots of questions are unanswered and we would like to have that closure, so we are encouraged by the fact that the investigation is being reopened and we have some path towards resolution, so we know what happened.

"If anybody has any information, they should come forth and reach out through the correct channels. Don't make an assumption as to whether or not you think information is important. Let the professionals be the best judge of how important that information is.

"It is 30 years ago, it is a long time ago, memories may be cloudy. That said, anything you have may be that missing piece that's required to get to the next step and for that, if you can come forward, we are grateful."