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KCL Alumnus Killed in Gaza

Picture of Dr Maisara Alrayyes, at his graduation from Al-Quds University.
Picture of Dr Maisara Alrayyes, at his graduation from Al-Quds University, taken from his Twitter account (https://twitter.com/Maisara_Alrayes/status/1051168395301974017).

Dr Maisara Alrayyes, an alumnus of King’s College London (KCL), was reportedly killed in an Israeli airstrike that hit his home in Gaza, Palestine on 7 November.

Editor’s note: this article discusses the ongoing violence in the Gaza strip. Reader discretion is advised.

According to Al Araby, an Arabic-language TV network, 8 members of his family were also killed in the strike. He is survived by his wife Laura Hayek, who also studied in the UK.

Between 2019 and 2020, Dr Alrayyes read for a master’s degree in Women and Children’s Health at KCL under the prestigious Chevening Scholarship. The Chevening Scholarship is awarded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to foreign nationals who “show potential to inspire, inform, and influence positive change”, providing funding for their study at a UK university.

Upon graduating from KCL, Dr Alrayyes returned to Gaza to work as a doctor for Médecins du Monde-France, an international medical humanitarian aid organisation. An accomplished doctor, Dr Alrayyes was a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology.

KCL Student Justice for Palestine shared a message he sent to friends before the communications blackout in Gaza:

“In the last few days, I’m starting to feel more terrified than ever. I imagine myself underneath the rubble, and I have a great fear of staying alive under the rubble”

Dr Maisara Alrayyes via KCL SJP

KCL SJP published an open letter that it will send to KCL and Chevening urging their leadership “to speak up about the British government’s failure to protect Maisara’s life and demand accountability for his killing” amid growing calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

KCL published a statement following Dr Alrayyes’ death:

“It is with great sadness that we have learned that our alumnus, Dr Maisara Alrayyes and members of his family, were killed in Gaza. We send our deepest condolences to his surviving family and to all his friends within the King’s community and beyond.”

They also noted that Dr Alrayyes was “well respected and known among his colleagues for his dedication to improving healthcare for women and children in low-income and war-affected regions” and announced a memorial gathering would take place at KCL to mourn the loss of Dr Alrayyes and his family. The memorial will occur on Wednesday, 29 November at strand campus. The service will be led by the Dean’s office and the Chaplaincy. Places are limited, and students have been asked to sign up here.

Roar would like to express its condolences to Dr Alrayyes’ family, friends and those affected in Palestine and Israel.

To read more of Roar’s coverage of Palestine and Israel, click here.

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