A senior member of Hamas’ military wing was assassinated in Gaza on Friday.
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A statement by the Interior Ministry in Gaza said Mazen Fuqaha was gunned down in the southern Gaza City neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa. The gunmen were equipped with silencers, the statement said.
A spokesman for Hamas, Husam Badran, said that only Israel had an interest in killing Fuqaha. Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza are calling for revenge.
Fuqaha was a prominent member of Hamas’s military wing in the northern West Bank, which took part of suicide attacks in which hundreds of Israelis were killed during the second intifada, between 2000-2005.
Fuqha was sentenced to life in prison and an additional 50 years for planning a suicide bombing on a bus in northern Israel in 2002, where nine Israelis were killed. But in 2011, Fuqaha was released from prison as part of a prisoner exchange deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
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Fuqha, originally from the village of Tubas in the northern West Bank was exiled at Israel’s demand to Gaza. He was considered a senior member of Hamas’ West Bank command, which gave orders and funds to West bank cells.
The Gaza command received its orders from Hamas' headquarters in Turkey, commanded by Saleh Arouri. Following Israeli and American pressures this year, Ankara demanded Arouri to leave the country and today he resides in Qatar.