Hamas releases suspects' confession in commander killing

2017-05-16 21:32
Hamas Supreme Leader Ismail Haniyeh announces the arrest of a suspect who allegedly shot dead Mazen Faqha. (Adel Hana, AP)

Hamas Supreme Leader Ismail Haniyeh announces the arrest of a suspect who allegedly shot dead Mazen Faqha. (Adel Hana, AP)

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Gaza City - Hamas released a recording on Tuesday of the purported confessions of the men suspected of murdering one of its commanders in the heart of Gaza, allegedly on behalf of Israel.

The interior ministry in the Hamas-run enclave broadcast a 14-minute video at a media conference in Gaza.

Images allegedly showed three men, presented as the murderer and his two accomplices, confessing their roles in the death of Mazen Faqha, although their faces did not appear.

Professionally planned

No independent bodies have had access to the suspects and the images and recordings were impossible to verify.

"Widespread coercion, torture and routine deprivation of detainees' rights by Hamas security services in Gaza call into question whether these confessions were in fact voluntary or may have been extracted under duress," said Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch director for Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Faqha, a senior member of Hamas' armed wing, was shot dead next to his home in Gaza City on March 24.

Hamas immediately accused Israel of carrying out the professionally planned operation.

On Monday, the group named Ashraf Abu Leila, 38, as chief suspect, saying he was arrested two weeks after the killing.

Two other unnamed men are alleged to have helped plan the killing with the help of Israel's security services.

The assassination in the middle of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip shocked the Islamist movement and raised fears of a new conflict with Israel.

The two have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the claims.

In the recordings broadcast on Tuesday, the chief suspect is not named but is identified only by his initials.

He confesses to co-operating with Israeli intelligence since 2004, with an Israeli agent asking him for information about Hamas bases.

Security services

His "last mission" was murdering Faqha, saying he shot him five or six times in the head and torso.

A security source recently indicated the suspect was a member of the armed wing of Hamas for several years before being expelled in 2008.

General Tawfiq Abu Naim, head of the Hamas security services in Gaza, said the assassination took eight months to plan.

Shortly after the killing, the security services launched a campaign against so-called collaborators during which "45 people were arrested", he said.

Hamas hanged three men accused of collaborating with Israel in cases unrelated to Faqha's death on April 6.

Read more on:    hamas  |  israel

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