Gaza-Israel border shut after Mazen Faqha killing

  • Mazen Faqha assassinated at his doorstep;
  • Shot on head four times with a silenced gun;
  • The beginning of a new offensive, says Jihadist movement;

Hamas closes northern Gaza crossing ‘until further notice’, as it reflects on Mazen Faqha’s killing, blamed on Israel.

Thousands poured into the streets of Gaza for the funeral of Mazen Faqha [Ezz Zanoun/Al Jazeera]
The authorities of Hamas have closed the Gaza border with Israel after the death of its senior commander which Hamas blamed on “Israel and its collaborators”.

The move came after the shocking death of Hama’s top commander Mazen Faqha, who was shot dead at the entrance of his home in Gaza City late on Friday.

Interior Ministry spokesman for Hamas, Iyad al-Bozum Sunday announced  (Arabic) that the Beit Hanoun checkpoint, opposite the Israeli crossing of Erze to the north of Gaza Strip, would remain closed until further notice.

“In light of the humanitarian situation, only the residents of Gaza with humanitarian cases will be allowed to return to Gaza via the Beit Hanoun checkpoint,” Bozum said.

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Investigation into the circumstances that led to Faqha’s death is ongoing by Hamas security services Bozum confirmed.

He called on Gaza’s citizens and media to be responsible in dealing with the event and not to circulate rumours about the incident.

A senior Hamas official, Mahmoud al-Zahar, told reporters that Hamas will not make public how it will handle the assassination, but noted that the “blood of our people will not go in vain, especially in a crime this big”.

On whether the group plans to respond militarily, al-Zahar said, “This is a security issue that we cannot disclose. But for sure, the Israeli entity will be punished and deterred.”

The authorities that rules Gaza, Hamas, said Faqha was assassinated with a silenced gun after four shots to his head.

“No one would benefit from this crime except the Zionist enemy and not to mention, the Zionist enemy announced in all of its media that the leader, Mazen Faqha, is on the top of the wanted list,” senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil told Al Jazeera.

“The Palestinian resistance has its methods and the capacity to respond,” al-Bardawil said.

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“The punishment will be of the same nature as the attack. The matter is now in the resistance movement’s hands,” he added.

The deceased Faqha, 38, was top Hamas official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank when he was jailed by Israel in 2003 for allegedly planning attacks against Israelis.

Faqha had been sentenced to nine life jail terms but secured his release into the Gaza Strip including over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that Israel released in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel’s Shalit was seized and held in a coastal enclave after being captured in a cross-border raid in 2006.

One Israeli military spokeswoman refused to give comments on the assassination of Faqha in the Hama-held Palestinian enclave, which has been under Israeli siege since 2006.

The Islamic Jihad movement said Faqha’s assassination marked the beginning of “a new offensive” by Israel against the Palestinian resistance, and that the resistance had the right to respond and defend itself, according to an Al Jazeera report.





Credits: Al Jazeera,

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