Hamas arrests suspected killer of key leader | News | DW | 11.05.2017
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Hamas arrests suspected killer of key leader

The Palestinian Hamas has arrested a man who allegedly killed militant Mazen Faqha on orders from Israel. Hamas has said the suspect will likely face execution.

The newly elected supreme leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, told reporters that the suspect had confessed to Faqha's killing.

"We announce that the killer and criminal that carried out the orders of the officers of the Zionist security services is in the hands of the (Hamas) security services," Haniyeh said.

Haniyeh did not announce the suspect's identity. Hamas had previously hinted that Palestinian collaborators might have been involved.

The press conference was held in front of Faqha's house in the Gaza Strip. The organization's top official in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, also attended the event, alongside Faqha's widow.

The 38-year-old Faqha had made his reputation in Hamas as the commander responsible for forming Islamist cells in the West Bank. He was also blamed for killing nine Israelis in 2002. Israeli forces arrested him in 2003 and sentenced him to nine life terms for planning terror attacks. However, he was released in a 2011 prisoner exchange deal.

In March this year, the Hamas militant was shot in the head four times at the entrance of his home in Gaza City, allegedly with a silenced gun. Hamas immediately imposed a lockdown in Gaza. The Israeli authorities refused to comment.

On Thursday, Haniyeh repeated that "all the evidence we have" indicates that Israel masterminded the killing.

"What the enemy did was a painful strike in terms of strategy and security," Haniyeh said at the press conference.

Haniyeh also told reporters that Hamas would release more information on the detained suspect in the coming days. He added that the man would probably be executed.

dj/kms (AFP, AP, dpa)