Hamas planned to kill an Israeli army officer to avenge the March killing in the Gaza Strip of a senior Hamas militant. Mazen Fuqaha was gunned down in Gaza City on March 24 in what Hamas says was an Israeli hit job. That, according to a statement issued by Israel’s Shin Ben security service on Thursday.
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The Shin Bet said nine people have been arrested in connection to the alleged retaliatory assassination, including seven who are suspected of selling arms illegally.
When Fuqaha was killed, a Hamas spokesman said that only Israel had an interest in his death.
The revenge killing was to be perpetrated by Adam Fiqi and Faras Fiqi, brothers from the central Israel town of Jaljulya, the Shin Bet said.
The Shin Bet said Adam Fiqi, 25, was asked by a half-brother, a Hamas militant living in the Gaza Strip, to buy arms, choose a target for assassination and recruit an accomplice. Adam Fiqi attempted to buy two guns and a silencer from a Jaljulya resident. The Shin Bet said Faras, a known supporter of the Islamic State group according to the security agency, tried to help his brother with the purchases. Both men were charged on Thursday.
The Shin Bet said Adam Fiqu was recruited by Hamas in December 2014, during a visit to the Gaza Strip for a family wedding, and that he underwent military training.
The Shin Bet said the case highlights the danger of weapons from criminals getting into the hands of terrorists.
In May, a Gaza military court sentenced three Palestinians to death for alleged involvement in Fuqaha’s murder. The three, two Gazans and one resident of the West Bank, admitted as much, Hamas said.