Hamas on Monday said its forces arrested a Palestinian for the assassination of one of its commanders in the Gaza Strip last month.
According to reports in the Hebrew-language media, the Gaza-based terror group said the investigation into the March 24 killing of Mazen Faqha outside his Gaza City home has been completed, and its findings are being handed over to Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.
Hamas has accused Israel of being behind the killing, and vowed “divine punishment” for Faqha’s assassins.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday that Hamas was responsible for the killing and that it came as a result of an internal dispute.
“Today, we can say with certainty that this was an internal assassination,” he said in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth.
He also told the paper that he “would not be surprised if before the Iranian [presidential] elections on May 19 someone assassinated the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.”
In recent weeks, Hamas has conducted a massive search for Faqha’s assassins. At one point ot temporarily closed the Erez Crossing into Israel in a bid to prevent his killers from escaping.
Dozens of Palestinians were arrested for allegedly collaborating with Israeli military intelligence in the assassination.
Three of the so-called “collaborators” were executed in Gaza last week, although the Health Ministry said none was directly involved in Faqha’s death.
International rights groups have harshly condemned Hamas for the executions and border closures.
Originally from a small village in the West Bank, Faqha headed the Hamas office in Gaza tasked with launching terror attacks against Israel from and in the West Bank. His subordinates in the branch specialized in recruiting suicide attackers, collecting weapons and preparing explosive devices.
Faqha, 38, was responsible for sending a suicide bomber to carry out an attack in northern Israel in 2002 in which nine people were killed and 52 were wounded. Before his 2011 release as part of the Gilad Shalit deal, Faqha was serving nine life sentences for planning the deadly attack.
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