Hamas Say They Caught Assassin Who Killed Senior Leader

Palestinians were not allowed to hold their flag during the first Intifada 1987-1988

Palestinians were not allowed to hold their flag during the first Intifada 1987-1988

Hamas movement on Thursday said that it has arrested the assassin of Mazen Fuqaha, top Hamas leader in March.

Mazen Faqha's suspected killer acted on Israel's "orders" and confessed to the crime, says Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

During the first week of April, Hamas hung three suspected "Israel collaborators" suspected of links to the Faqha assassination.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview with Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper soon after the killing, attributed the death to an internal power dispute in Hamas.

"Over the course of 47 days, the security apparatuses worked hard to uncover the threads of Mazen Faqha's assassination crime, until the killer and those who helped him were reached", Iyad al-Bozum, spokesman for Gaza's interior ministry, said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

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It has said the professionalism of the shooting indicated that Israel was behind the hit.

Ismail Haniyeh, who was named the head of Hamas' political bureau last week, announced the arrest at a hastily scheduled news conference. Hamas immediately imposed a lockdown in Gaza.

Haniyeh thanked the people of Gaza for "understanding" the measures taken by security services over the past month and a half.

The executions were not connected to Faqha's killing, but they were carried out amid a crackdown inside Gaza that included the shuttering of a border crossing with Israel and a ban on Gaza fishermen from taking their boats out to sea.

Faqha, originally from the West Bank, was serving nine life terms in Israeli prison for directing suicide bombing attacks before he was freed with more than 1,000 other Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one Israeli soldier in 2011. It also has dropped explicit language calling for Israel's destruction, although it retains the goal of eventually "liberating" all of historic Palestine, which includes what is now Israel.

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