Israeli Defense Minister: Assassination of Top Hamas Militant Was an Inside Job

So far Israel has kept mum on the assassination of Mazen Fuqaha, which Hamas has blamed on Mossad

Members of Hamas' armed wing take part in the funeral of Mazen Fuqaha in Gaza City, March 25, 2017.
Members of Hamas' armed wing take part in the funeral of Mazen Fuqaha in Gaza City, March 25, 2017.Credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS

The assassination of a top Hamas militant, Mazen Fuqaha, in March was an inside job within the movement, Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. The interview was published on Monday.

Internal assassinations are characteristic of terror groups, Lieberman said. “We can say with certainty that it was an internal killing,” the minister said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if during the Iranian election on May 19, somebody assassinates the president of Iran, Hassan Rohani.”

Until now, Lieberman has been muffled on the subject of Fuqaha’s assassination, which Hamas has blamed on Israel, claiming that the “fingerprints are clearly Mossad’s." Israel has ignored the accusations against it.

Hamas has threatened to take revenge. A video posted online last month by a news site linked to the terrorist group in Gaza showed a camouflaged sniper peering through a scope at prominent Israeli officials, including Lieberman, followed by the message in Hebrew and Arabic, "We will act in kind."

Lieberman's previous muted comment on the subject was made last week during a tour of Sderot, a town near Gaza that has frequently been targeted by rocket attacks. There, Lieberman said, “We have no beef with Hamas. Let them do what they like. We will do what we have to do, and let them look in their turf. Hamas is known for internal killings, all kinds of closing accounts.”

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Ilan Assayag

Fuqaha, a senior member of Hamas’ military wing, was gunned down on March 24 in the southern Gaza City neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa, according to the Gaza foreign ministry. The gunmen were equipped with silencers, the ministry's statement said at the time.

Israel sentenced Fuqaha to life in prison and an additional 50 years for planning a suicide bombing on a bus in northern Israel in 2002, which killed nine Israelis. But in 2011, Fuqaha was released as part of a prisoner exchange deal to free Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Fuqaha, 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.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Lake Kinneret. The high water level created lagoons at the northern end of the lake.

Lake Kinneret as You’ve Never Experienced It Before

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis