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

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
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
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

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:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

$1 for the first month

Already signed up? LOG IN

Rep. Henry Cuellar attends a campaign event on Wednesday, in San Antonio, Texas.

AIPAC-backed Dem Declares Victory Against Progressive Challenger in Texas Runoff

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Mohammad Eslami at an event for Nuclear Technology Day in Tehran, last month.

Prospects for Reviving Iran Nuclear Deal 'Tenuous' at Best, U.S. Envoy Says

A family grieves outside the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Wednesday.

Israeli PM Offers Condolences After Texas Gunman Kills 21 at Elementary School

U.S. President Joe Biden, this week.

Biden Decides to Keep Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Terror List, Says Report

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Progressive Jews Urge ADL Chief to Apologize for Calling Out Democratic Activist

Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders with Jessica Cisneros in San Antonio last week.

It’s AIPAC vs. Bernie Sanders in Too-close-to-call Texas Democratic Runoff