Ramallah – The Hamas movement has launched a new campaign against suspected Israeli collaborators a day after deputy politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh issued a threat that killers of prominent leader Mazen al-Faqha will not escape punishment.
Haniyeh asserted that Hamas is supporting the security authorities in their open-ended conflict with the Israeli occupation.
The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry in Gaza announced that it will undertake “increased measures” against “Israeli agents in the coming hours and days as a part of its investigation into the assassination of Faqha.” The campaign seems to be preparing for a series of new executions and judicial sentences.
“Hamas appreciates and supports the national and responsible efforts the Interior Ministry is carrying out… in pursuit of traitors and agents, especially after the Zionist enemy and its collaborators assassinated Mazen Faqha,” Hamas said in an official statement on Sunday.
Informed resources expected that the movement will begin carrying out sentences soon, intensify penalties against others and arresting suspects.
Hamas said that Faqha’s killers are tools for Israel even though Tel Aviv did not claim responsibility for the assassination. Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had refuted accusations by Hamas that Israel was behind the killing.
Lieberman said that Israel is not looking for “adventures”, stressing that it runs its security “responsibly and with determination.”
“Hamas is known for its internal assassinations, settling scores — let them look there,” Lieberman said on Sunday.
Faqha, who used to direct some of the Palestinian resistance movement’s activities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, was shot dead by assailants at the entrance of his home in Gaza City in March with four bullets to the head from close range.
Following the assassination, Hamas temporarily closed the crossing point from Gaza into Israel, in an apparent attempt to capture the assassins.
Hamas is launching its major “revenge” campaign against “agents” after years of refraining from such a move. The last time it did so, it garnered great local and international criticism after it executed agents on the streets. One of the most prominent incidents was the campaign it launched in the wake of the 2014 war.
It is still unknown whether the ministry will carry out executions in public or in prisons.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said that the movement stresses that the “Israeli occupation is fully responsible for the latest crime of assassinating Mazen Faqha and all the possible consequences resulting from it.”
Barhoum added that Hamas demands imposing the maximum punishment against occupation agents, taking the necessary measures to preserve the security of the society and protecting the resistance.
Following the assassination of Faqha, the hashtag “Retribution against collaborators” went viral on the local social media in support of any security measures by the Ministry of Interior against agents in the Gaza Strip.
Military spokesman of al-Qassam Brigades Abu Obeida held Israel responsible for Faqha’s assassination, vowing to respond to the crime.
He reiterated that only the “Zionist enemy is responsible for the assassination,” stressing that “its attempts to escape responsibility will not succeed.”
The spokesman added that “Lieberman’s statements in which he is trying to escape responsibility bear witness to the fear of senior Israeli officials, whose hands are stained with Faqha’s blood.”