Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Hamas Announces Arrest in Shooting of Top Militant

Hamas Announces Arrest in Shooting of Top Militant

Gaza, ( Hamas Politburo Chairman Ismaill Haniyeh said on Thursday that Hamas's security forces arrested the killer of Hamas Leader Mazen Fukaha.

The suspect, who was not identified, had received direct orders from Israel to carry out the assassination of Mazen Fuqaha'a, said Haniya at a news conference held outside Fuqaha'a's residence Thursday.

No details were provided on the suspect's identity, though Hamas has previously suggested Palestinian collaborators had worked with Israel on the assassination.

In March this year, the Hamas militant was shot in the head four times at the entrance of his home in Gaza City, allegedly with a silenced gun.

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"Everyone knows Israel wants to harm Hamas... we've stopped the assassin who pulled the trigger following the instructions of his Israeli commanders", Haneyya said.

"I announce to the Palestinian people, the Arab, Muslim and the free world the arrest of Mazen Faqha's killer..."

"What the enemy did was a painful strike in terms of strategy and security", Haniyeh said.

Israel's Shin Bet security service, which carries out covert operations against Palestinian militants, did not respond immediately to a request for a comment on Haniyeh's allegations.

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Just one month ago, Hamas executed by hanging three Palestinians convicted of treason and collaboration with Israel, prompting protests from Palestinian and worldwide human rights groups.

Following his death, Hamas imposed a lockdown in Gaza, setting up military style checkpoints throughout the territory, sealing its border crossings and rounding up dozens of people for questioning. The next year, Hamas lost hundreds of fighters in a war with Israel that also inflicted heavy damage on Gaza.

He was sentenced to nine life terms but was released into the Gaza Strip as one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that Israel let go in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit. More recently, Abbas, who governs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, has cut financial support to Gaza, further squeezing Hamas. Under the release, Faqha was sent to Gaza.

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