Derry man’s close friend is killed in the West Bank

Sean with Odai's picture outside Guildhall Square. Pic by Justin McLaughlin
Sean with Odai's picture outside Guildhall Square. Pic by Justin McLaughlin

A Derry man has spoken of his shock after his 20 years-old friend was brutally killed in the West Bank.

Sean Canning spent time in Ramallah last year when he became friendly with a young man called Odai Jabr.

Sean Canning with Odai Jabr last year.

Sean Canning with Odai Jabr last year.

Tragically Odai was shot and killed close to the border crossing into Jerusalem last Friday,

Speaking to the Journal Sean Canning said Odai’s death had been devastating and revealed how during last Saturday’s march in Guildhall Square he spoke about his friend and held up his picture.

The Derry man and Odai met last year when Sean spent three months in Palestine as part of the International Citizens Service.

Sean spent three months living in Ramallah on the West Bank. It was here he met Odai and the two played football for Rafat FC, a little village on the edge of Ramallah.

It was during last week’s match at the Brandywell when Sean received the devastating call that told him his friend was dead.

“Every Friday they would hold prayers and then move to the border crossing at Jerusalem to hold a peaceful protest,” said Sean. “Last Friday numerous people were shot and Odai was shot. He was rushed to hospital in Ramallah where they made frantic attempts to revive him, but he died. He was just 20 years-old, It was really sad.”

Sean said he would have happy memories of playing football with Odai.

“His death is just heartbreaking,” he said. “When I was there last year there wasn’t much trouble but now the violence has just escalated so quickly. I had been watching it all unfold on television but Odai’s death just made it so real because someone I knew had been killed in the conflict.

“I’ll always remember how Odai invited me to his village and made me feel like part of the family.”

“I spoke at the rally on Saturday in the Guildhall to tell the people of Odia and his killing, just a tragic loss of a young person.”