Hamas warns of retaliating against Israel in response to the assassination of a senior member of its armed-wing

Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al accused Israel of assassinating Mazen Fuqaha, while declaring that the Palestinian response would come in actions, not in words. The leader of the Islamist group, who resides in Qatar, declared in a speech that was broadcast by video to a rally in the Gaza Strip, that if Israel – which he referred to as the ‘Zionist enemy’ – were changing the rules of the game, Hamas would accept the challenge. 

Hundreds of Palestinians participated in a symbolic funeral in Tubas, the home town of the Hamas militant, who was assassinated in the Gaza Strip. The participants waved Hamas flags during the funeral procession, chanting support for the assassinated terrorist, whose father said was killed by Israel after Faqaha refused to heed their warnings, in which the Jewish state demanded of him to halt his terror related activities. 

“We hold Israel responsible because it said many times that it will do that (kill him) if he did not change his path. They said it honestly, that Mazen (militant) was doing something wrong and it was affecting Israeli security. And that if he did not stop, (they said) we are strong and we can reach anyone anywhere,” said Mohammad Fuqaha, Father of terrorist.

Mazen Fuqaha, who was 38 years old, was praised by Hamas as a senior leader of its armed-wing who was planning and supervising operations against Israel. He was convicted and sentenced to nine life terms in prison by Israel for his role in planning a suicide bombing in the Galilee in 2002, during which six Israeli civilians and three soldiers were killed. Fuqaha did not complete his sentence, as he was released in 2011, together with 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners, in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an abducted IDF soldier who was held captive by Hamas in Gaza for five years. Meanwhile, Hamas has barred publication of all details pertaining to the investigation of the assassination, and has also barred publication of reports on the matter that appear in the Israeli media. A giant sign was hung in Gaza today, showing a masked man firing a handgun, along with the caption in Hebrew: “The type of retribution will be according to the action.”