Hamas held a press conference on Tuesday in which it announced that three Palestinians had admitted their involvement on behalf of Israel in the assassination of a top official in the organization, Mazen Fuqaha, in March.
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Commander of Hamas' internal security forces, Tawfiq Abu Naim, said that the three suspects, two Gazans and one resident of the West Bank, admitted to receiving instructions from Israel's intelligence apparatus to carry out the assassination. He added that the agent who carried out the assassination was carefully chosen by Israel in order to deflect attention from Israel's own responsibility in the hit.
Abu Naim added that the three suspects admitted to having gathered information on activists in the military arm of Hamas. "Israel holds responsibility for the assassination, in all its details. This is an action that marks a new stage in dealing with Israel for the Palestinian security apparatus," he said.
In a 14-minute video the organization presented, one of the suspects can be seen saying: "We were asked to relay information on Hamas people, including Mazen Fuqaha, in his neighborhood. I followed Fuqaha, photographed him at his home by phone and transmitted the information to an Israeli intelligence officer who was known as Said.
The assassination was carried out by a 38-year-old Gazan referred to as A.L., who says in the film: "I was in touch with an intelligence officer named Belal. On the day of the assassination I called Belal and waited near a restaurant next to Fuqaha's home. When he came home in his car, I got closer to him in order to get him to lower the window of his car. Then I fired six bullets and ran away using an escape route that had been set up in advance by the Israeli handler."
The military court in Gaza began trying him on Monday. Sites associated with Hamas reported that the name of the suspect is Ashraf Abu Laila, who was a top official in the military wing of Hamas from 2001-2013. He was pushed out of the movement's ranks because of suspicion that he was involved in murder and embezzlement of money, and then joined a Salafi organization and became a fierce opponent of Hamas.
Another suspect, a 44-year-old West Bank resident who lives in Gaza with his wife, told that he had been in touch with |Israeli intelligence for years. He said that for years he had transmitted information to Israel about Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in 2004, as well as leading Hamas official Ahmed Jabari, who was assassinated by Israel in 2012, as well as other officials in the organization's military wing. "The Israeli intelligence apparatus promised us help in receiving permits to enter Israel and all sorts of perks, in return for information on Hamas people," he said.