March 28, 2017 Hamas has launched a manhunt in the Gaza Strip following the mysterious killing of one its military commanders, which the group says was carried out by Israeli assassins.
The lslamist militant organisation has placed the isolated Mediterranean enclave of Gaza on lock down as it hunts for the killers of Mazen Faqha, a Hamas leader who was shot dead on Friday.
While it searches for the alleged Israeli hit squad – and any Palestinian collaborators – Hamas is preventing men younger than 45 from leaving Gaza and imposed a media blackout on details of its investigation.
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied any role in the killing but Faqha’s death has raised tensions in Gaza and the Israeli military is bracing for potential retaliation from Hamas.
Hamas senior leader Sheikh Ismaeil Haneiya (R) seated with the son of Mazen Faqaa, senior leader of Ezz-Al Din Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement, at a memorial service in Gaza City CREDIT: EPA/MOHAMMED SABER ‘Israel decided to change the rules of the game, and we accept the challenge,’ said Khaled Meshal, the head of Hamas’s political wing.
The 38-year-old Faqha was found shot dead on Friday in his home in Gaza City. Hamas said the killers had used silencers on their weapons and placed the blame on the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service.
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The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations.