In the book “The Last Shot”, a researcher reveals 3 Jordanian martyrs buried in Bethlehem 54 years ago
The researcher Othman Salah from Bethlehem wrote a book entitled “The Last Shot”, in which he revealed the details of the story of the three soldiers and their identities, and found that they were part of the Hittin Brigade, and they are: Muhammad Reda Ahmed Muhammad Bani Amer or Bani Ali, Khalifa Yassin, Rad al-Anizan, and Muhammad al-Shobaki.
Bethlehem – During the June war in which Israel occupied the rest of the city of Jerusalem in 1967, while the Jordanian army spread around the city and throughout the West Bank, one of its military groups was subjected to Israeli air strikes, which led to the death of a number of its soldiers.
The accounts mention that the bodies of 3 Jordanian martyrs were transferred to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. After that, a military group came and buried them in the “Gabr Hilweh” area at the entrance to the town of Dar Salah in the east, and the names of the martyrs remained unknown, especially after the defeat of the Arab armies and their withdrawal from Palestine.
In 2014, the municipality of “Dar Salah” erected a memorial around the graves of the unknown martyrs. But revealing their identities preoccupied researcher and journalist Othman Salah, who was a member of the village council at the time.
Salah began researching with the local Palestinian authorities and in the records of the Jordanian army through his friends in Jordan, until he reached Hajj Ahmed Amer Al-Suwaiti, who was a corporal in the Jordanian army at the time, and was responsible for burying the three martyrs.
Salah Al-Jazeera Net crew heard an audio recording he made with Al-Suwaiti, in which the latter said that he is from the town of Beit Awa in Hebron, was born in 1942, and lives today in Jordan, and was a member of the Jordanian army until 1977.
Regarding the details of that incident, Al-Suwaiti says: The Jordanian army command informed them on the night of June 6, 1967 to receive the three bodies from the hospital, and the hospital director handed over the identity cards of two of them.
Al-Suwaiti recognized 2 of the martyrs; They are: Khalifa Yassin and Rad, who was shot in the forehead, and Corporal Muhammad Reda, who was shot in the chest, without knowing his family name. Al-Suwaiti did not recognize the identity of the third martyr, who had only his military number on his neck.
buried under bullets
Al-Suwaiti’s group headed to the security headquarters (the district) in Bethlehem, and its leader was Bassam Al-Hamoud Al-Khasawneh, who in turn sent with them 3 young men who knew the area, and ordered their burial in the area of Tomb Hilweh.
Al-Suwaiti says in the audio recording, that the leadership sent the leader of the battalion, Mahmoud Mustafa Mishaal, to introduce the group to the legitimate burial method, and was with them Issa Abdul Hadi Al-Suwaiti and Ahmed Abdul Hamid Al-Suwaiti, and the driver of the freight vehicle, Issa Musa Al-Darawish, who carried them all with the bodies.
The group dug 3 adjacent graves to a small depth, and put each martyr’s identity card between his teeth, and buried them in their military uniforms. Al-Suwaiti states – according to his audio recording – that the burial took place amid great military movements in the area, and under continuous fire, and the faces of each of them were covered with a piece of cloth before throwing dirt on their bodies directly.
The identity of the three martyrs remained unknown to the residents of the area, and none of them participated in the burial process. Al-Suwaiti was able to enter the West Bank in 2002, and said in his recording that he told a neighbor of the graves the story, but no one came to ask him and their identities remained unknown.
The occupation had begun by building a bypass road (designated for settlers) linking Jerusalem with settlements established on lands east of Bethlehem, and it would have passed over the graves of the martyrs, but the protest of the residents of the area kept the occupation away from it.
Salah continued to search – and in cooperation with Al-Suwaiti – and they reached the records of the Jordanian Arab army, and it was found that the three martyrs were part of a company of the Jordanian army that shot down an Israeli plane near the “Mar Elias” monastery between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Salah revealed – to Al Jazeera Net – that 6 Jordanian soldiers who were in the “Mar Elias” area were bombed, which led to the death of 3 of them, while the others managed to shoot down the Israeli plane and dispersed in the area.
It seems that the third martyr, Muhammad al-Shobaki, arrived in the neighboring towns of Dar Salah and al-Ubaidiya, east of Bethlehem.
Salah says – to Al Jazeera Net – that the imam of the nearby Beit Sahour Mosque, Sheikh Ismail Al-Jamal, with the help of the people, were able to find the bodies of the three soldiers and hide them in a cave in the “Gabur Hilweh” area, and Sheikh Al-Jamal communicated with the district commander Al-Khasawneh, who recommended him to transfer them to Beit Hospital. Govt. Gala.
Jordanian army records
Salah wrote a book entitled “The Last Shot” in which he revealed the details of their story, and found that the three martyrs were within the Hittin Brigade, and they are: Muhammad Reda Ahmed Muhammad Bani Amer or Bani Ali, and he is from the Jordanian city of Irbid, and he was in what was known as the “Jafar Brigade”, and his number Military (11385).
The other martyr is Khalifa Yassin and Rad al-Anizan, and his military number is (94351), and he was working on a submachine gun in the same battalion. The third is Muhammad al-Shobaki, who was in the “Ali bin Abi Talib” battalion, also affiliated with the Hittin Brigade.
Salah also found that the family of the martyr Muhammad al-Shobaki was able to enter the West Bank in 1968, and they opened the grave, and recognized him from his wristwatch, which was still working at that time, and reburied him in the same grave.
Salah confirmed – to Al-Jazeera Net – that he contacted the director of the Hashemite Fund for the Reconstruction of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, Dr. Wasfi al-Kilani, who was provided with information regarding the three martyrs. The Fund allowed the publication of his book “The Last Shot”, which will come out soon, revealing the story of the three Jordanian martyrs and their names, which remained unknown to the Palestinians for more than 54 years.