Palestine: We are ready for Israel’s “challenge”, Hamas leader

Hostilities between Hamas and Israel have been renewed with the killing last week of Mazen Fuqaha, the Gaza-based movement’s senior commander.

The group’s leader Khaled Meshaal speaking from Qatar on Monday said the assassination of the commander inside Gaza was a message from the Jewish State which read “I’ve scored a point against you and I can take away one of your heroes even in the heart of Gaza.” He claimed that the “enemy” was able to carry out its “despicable crime” with the help of its “collaborators.”

Israel has been accused of assassinating Fuqaha but Tel Aviv has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations. He was shot four times in the head with a pistol armed with a silencer. Hamas claims that Mossad was behind the killing. Gaza’s attorney general has placed a gag order on information related to the incident.

Meshaal who said that Israel has “decided to change the rules of the game” with the killing vowed that “the military and political leadership of Hamas is ready to meet the occupiers’ challenge.” He stressed that Hamas “will not sit quietly” with regards to the “new challenge” because the group “is capable of continuing its mission.”

Fuqaha, 38, was released in a prisoner swap by Israel in 2012 after spending nine years behind bars. According to Hamas, Fuqaha formed cells for the group’s military wing in the West Bank cities of Tubas, where he was born, and Jenin. Meshaal underlined that the killing of this “great hero” is “a new blood debt that adds itself to all those before” him.

Fuqaha’s funeral on Saturday drew thousands of Hamas supporters into the streets with chants of “revenge” and “death to Israel”. “Our will is stronger than their weapons and we will defeat them in the end,” Meshaal said in a message to Israel.

Written by