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Hamas Releases Details on Military Wing Commander’s March Assassination | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hamas has said it holds Israel responsible for the killing of senior Hamas member Mazen Faqha. (Reuters)

Gaza – Hamas’ Gaza-based Interior Ministry on Tuesday revealed full investigation details on the assassination of Hamas military wing commander Mazen Faqha, following a number of arrests of suspects allegedly collaborating with Israel.

Faqha was fatally shot in the head and chest at the entrance of his Gaza City home on March 24.

In a press conference broadcast on its television channel, Hamas official Tawfiq Abu Na’im, director general of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Interior Ministry, said: “The security services were able to arrest the direct killer of Mazen Faqha.”

They identified him only as a 38-year-old A.L.

Reports have recently suggested that an al-Qassam Brigades ex-member, who had partaken in the 2007 Fatah–Hamas conflict, was the prime suspect in Faqha’s assassination.

On Friday, Faqha’s family identified the prime suspect A.L. as Ashraf Abu Layla, a 37-year-old former Hamas member from the central Gaza Strip.

Abu Layla was a member of Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades, but was thrown out years ago over “moral transgressions,” they said.

The suspect is assumed to have been involved in the killing of pro-Fatah Palestinians.

“We also arrested two agents of the occupation, who confessed to having played a part in the assassination by monitoring and filming the crime scene,” Abu Na’im added, also identifying them only by their initials: H.A., 44, and A.N., 38.

While two of the men are from Gaza, one is a resident of the West Bank, Hamas said. They were all arrested last week.

Abu Na’im said that 45 “agents” on Israel’s pay were arrested since Faqha’s killing, in a “severe blow to the occupation’s intelligence services.”

“The assassination was carried out by Israeli intelligence officers who were communicating [with the collaborators] through telephones and communications equipment,” the Hamas official added.

A video released on Tuesday showed the steps, including Faqha’s surveillance, that were carried out to assassinate him, according to the confessions obtained by Hamas.

Hamas says the video proves Israel’s role behind the operation.