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Palestinian citizens of Israel charged over planning alleged 'revenge attack'

June 8, 2017 10:25 P.M. (Updated: June 9, 2017 11:50 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinian citizens of Israel were charged with allegedly planning to kill an Israeli army officer in revenge for the killing of Hamas leader Mazen Fuqahaa in March, Israeli media reported on Thursday. 

Fuqahaa was shot with four bullets to the head in front of a residence in southwestern Gaza City on March 25. Hamas officials said that the assassination was carried out with a silenced gun by assailants who were “collaborating” with Israel. 

The well known Hamas leader was from the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas, and served nine years out of a life sentence in Israeli custody before he was released in 2012 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoners exchange deal. He was then exiled to the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to The Times of Israel, Israeli forces had detained seven Palestinians from the Palestinian town of Jaljulia in Israel over suspicions of possessing illegal weapons. One of the detainees, Mahmoud Muhammad Abd al-Karim Daoud, had apparently revealed details about the attack during interrogations with the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, and pointed to two brothers: Adam Ismail Muhammad Faki, 25, and Firas Ismail Muhammad Faki, 27. 

The Times of Israel reported that Adam Faki visited the besieged Gaza Strip in 2014 and was reportedly recruited to Hamas by his half-brother Muhammad and another resident, Hassan al-Matsi. Adam Faki had also reportedly developed ties with Hamas leader Hassan Jaabari, the brother of Ahmad Jaabari, who served as head of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, before being killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2012. 

Reportedly under the direction of Muhammad Faki, Adam was told to “acquire weapons, identify a victim and recruit a helper” in order to carry out an alleged revenge attack following Fuqahaa’s assassination. He then attempted to acquire two pistols and a silencer from a fellow Jaljulia resident, Yassin Marari. 

Meanwhile, Adam’s brother Firas was also arrested by Israeli authorities over suspicions he had known about the planned attack. 

The three other suspects continued to remain in Israeli custody.

After Fuqahaa was shot dead, authorities in Gaza imposed an unprecedented security crackdown and sealed the land and sea borders of the small Palestinian territory in search for the killer, who Hamas authorities immediately claimed assassinated the Hamas leader in collaboration with Israel.

Less than two months later, on May 16, Gaza authorities announced the investigation concluded and said that the "direct executioner" and two accomplices were in custody, and had confessed to collaborating with Israeli intelligence to commit the killing.

Last month, the Hamas-run government in Gaza executed the alleged assassin of Fuqahaa and two of his accomplices.

Two of the convicts were executed by hanging and the third was executed by a firing squad at the headquarters of the Palestinian police in Gaza and in the presence of a number of high-profile figures, leaders, officials, and journalists. 
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