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Hamas announces arrest in shooting of top militant

Hamas announces arrest in shooting of top militant

A suspect has been arrested in the assassination of senior Hamas official Mazen Fuqaha'a, group leader Ismail Haniya said Thursday.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, said Thursday that it has arrested a person in connection with the mysterious March assassination of one of its top commanders and that the suspect had acted on orders from Israel.

"All the indications, and all the evidence we have indicate that the perpetrator committed this crime based on orders from the Israeli occupation", he said.

A Hamas source said on condition of anonymity that the suspect had "participated in the morning in a reconstruction of the crime", after numerous security forces were seen in front of Faqha's home earlier in the day.

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.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in an interview with Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper soon after the killing, attributed the death to an internal power dispute in Hamas.

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

Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad also denounced Hamas for banning Nakba anniversary commemorations in Gaza.

Israel has not commented on the shooting.

Haniyeh thanked the people of Gaza for "understanding" the measures taken by security services over the past month and a half.

He was sentenced to nine life terms but was released into the Gaza Strip as one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that Israel let go in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit.

According to Hamas, he formed cells for their military wing in the West Bank cities of Tubas, also where he was born, and Jenin.

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