Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali was shot dead in Knightsbridge on 27 July 1987.

The 49 year-old was attacked as he walked to his office in Ives Street at around 5.10pm.

Witnesses said they saw two men approach the 49 year-old outside the office of the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas at around 5pm.

Mr al-Ali was shot once in the back of the neck and never regained consciousness. He died in hospital five weeks later on 29 August.

Nobody has ever been charged with the murder but it is has been suggested he was assassinated by double agents working for the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the Israeli Mossad.

Mr Al-Ali’s cartoons were sometimes perceived as critical of the regime in Palestine and he had received a number of death threats in the years leading up to his murder.

On the 30th anniversary of his death the Metropolitan Police launched a new appeal for information as part of a reinvestigation of the case and released further details about Mr Al-Ali’s last movements.

Naji Al-Ali

Witnesses reported seeing him being followed by the suspected gunman as he made his way from his car on Ixworth Place into Draycott Avenue and then Ives Street.

The suspect is described 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.

After the attack, the suspect was seen to run out of Ives Street back across Draycott Avenue and into Ixworth Place.

A witness reported seeing another man crossing Fulham Road into Lucan Place and getting into the driver’s seat of a silver-grey left-hand drive Mercedes shortly after the incident.

He was seen running with his left hand inside the right side of his jacket as if he was concealing something.

Drawing of suspect

This man was described as being of Middle-Eastern appearance, aged in his 50s, about 5ft 9ins and of medium build but with heavy shoulders. He was said to have dark bushy hair with a lot of grey in it, a fattish face and a bigger than average nose. He was clean-shaven and of smart appearance, wearing a grey suit.

The Mercedes was seen driving off along Lucan Place and left into Ixworth Place, towards the junction with Sloane Avenue. It is believed that the registration number of the car contained the letters P and H in the first part and may have ended 11L.

The gunman was seen following Mr Al-Ali for about 40 seconds before he shot him. Despite the briefness of the attack, witnesses were able to give investigators a good description of the suspect. We believe that he may have arranged to meet the man seen driving the silver-grey Mercedes straight after the murder. We believe that this driver was seen hiding the weapon in his coat, intending to dispose of it.

Commander Dean Haydon, then head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command

The gun, a 7.62mm Tokarev pistol, was found in open space on the Hallfield Estate in Paddington almost two years after the murder, on 22 April 1989.

Specialists matched the marks left on bullets by the firing pin during test firing of the weapon to those left on the ejected cartridge case recovered from the scene of the murder.

The gun used in the murder

Commander Haydon said: “We have previously reviewed this case and followed a number of lines of enquiry 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.”

My father was a very dedicated family man who wanted to spend as much time with his kids as possible. On top of that he was also very dedicated to his passion of his artwork and the political implications of that, and his people. 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.

Mr Al-Ali’s son, Osama Al-Ali, speaking in 2017

Anyone with information is urged to call the investigation team on 020 3276 9014, or 0044 203 276 9014 if calling from outside the UK.

Alternatively, to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Note: This case is featured on the London historical murder map

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