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Sports star, former prisoner dies in West Bank

Jan. 3, 2012 12:51 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 4, 2012 11:11 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Football sensation and former detainee Zakaria Daoud Issa died in the West Bank aged 43 on Monday evening.

Daoud was released from Israeli jail on Aug. 22 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He had been sentenced to 16 years imprisonment in February 2003, charged with activism for Hamas.

Prior to his nine years in prison, Zakaria was known as one of Palestine's top football strikers, and played for the national team. He began his sporting career with his hometown side in al-Khader, near Bethlehem, where his son Ahmad is now one of the team's best players.

Daoud leaves behind daughters Wisal, 20, Malak, 14, Dalal, 13, and son Ahmad, 19.

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