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Israeli Silence Looms over Assassination of Top Hamas Official | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mazen al Faqha, Asharq Al-Awsat Archives

Ramallah – Israel registered no remarks on the recent assassination of a senior Hamas commander, Mazen Faqha.

Faqha was shot dead near his home in Tel el-Hawa, a neighborhood in southwestern Gaza City, by assailants using a weapon equipped with a silencer. He was hit by four bullets to the head, Gaza reports quoted by Army Radio said.

“Hamas and its (military wing) hold Israel and its collaborators responsible for this despicable crime… Israel knows that the blood of fighters is not spilled in vain and Hamas will know how to act,” Hamas said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Israeli and officials army spokesmen refused to make any comments on the assassination in the Hamas-run Palestinian coastal enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006.

Israeli media on the other hand shed light on Faqha’s history with occupying Israeli forces and him having been jailed for organizing the 2002 bombings which killed nine Israelis.

Faqha, 38, was a senior Hamas official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and was jailed in 2003 with nine life sentences to serve, later on he was freed as part of the 2011 deal to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and deported to Gaza. Hamas said Israel was to blame and vowed revenge.

Key Hamas officials had arrived to the hospital were Faqha’s body was taken late Friday. Among most notable figures was former Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and senior political leader of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh.

Known as the founding member of the Hamas military wing and Gaza’s newly elected Chief Yahya Sinwar also was present at the scene.

Gaza interior ministry Spokesman Iyad al-Bozum said that a comprehensive investigation on the circumstances under which Faqha was killed launched. Hamas sources said that many suspicions concerning the perpetrators are under probing.

“An investigation has been launched,” said Bozum.