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Hamas: suspected killer of movement leader Mazen Fuqahaa arrested in Gaza

May 11, 2017 5:49 P.M. (Updated: May 11, 2017 7:27 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The new head of Hamas’ politburo Ismail Haniyeh officially announced on Thursday that the Hamas movement had detained the suspected killer of Hamas leader Mazen Fuqahaa, who was shot dead by an unknown assailant in March.

Haniyeh said during a press conference held outside Fuqahaa’s home in the besieged Gaza Strip that the “killer” had confessed and provided “all information and details of his crime” and that he had received direct orders by Israeli officials to carry out the assassination. He also noted that Gaza’s Ministry of Interior Affairs would hold a press conference in coming days that would provide more details.

Haniyeh called the development a “historical moment” and a point of justice for a “heroic leader” of Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades -- the armed wing of the Hamas movement -- during the press conference. Fuqahaa was a “symbol of resistance” in Palestine, he said.

Fuqahaa was shot with four bullets to the head in front of a residence in southwestern Gaza City. Hamas officials said at the time 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.

The attorney general in the small Palestinian territory issued a gag order following the incident, banning publication of any information about the investigation unless it came from official Palestinian judicial sources.

Following Fuqahaa’s death, Gaza security forces imposed unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement in the blockaded coastal enclave for nearly two weeks as part of the search for those involved in the deadly shooting.

The Gaza Ministry of Interior also declared “a week of repentance” in April, promising security and legal protection to Palestinians who confessed to collaborating with Israel and turned themselves into intelligence authorities following Fuqahaa’s death amid a crackdown on alleged collaborators.

Under Hamas’ rule in the Gaza Strip, collaboration with Israel typically results in a death sentence.
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