Senior Hamas terrorist Mazen Fukaha was assassinated in Gaza on Friday, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said.
“The martyr Mazen Fukaha was shot in the head leading to his death,” Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Twitter.
The assassination took place in front of Fukaha’s home in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in the southern half of Gaza City.
The parties behind the assassination are unknown, the Hamas-backed Interior Ministry said in a statement, adding that the Hamas-dominated security services opened an investigation.
Hamas, however, accused Israel of carrying out the assassination.
“Hamas and its fighting brigades place the full responsibility for this reprehensible crime on the Israeli occupation and its collaborators,” Hamas said in an official statement.
Hamas also threatened possible retaliation for Fukaha’s assassination.
“The occupation knows that the blood of those struggling in the way of God will not be wasted,” Hamas stated. “Hamas knows how to deal with these crimes.”
Israeli officials did not immediately comment on the assassination.
Fukaha, who was born and raised in Tubas, was a senior terrorist in the Hamas armed wing Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades Brigades in Judea and Samaria, which carried out multiple suicide bombing attacks against Israel during the second intifada.
He was originally sentenced in 2003 to nine life terms after being convicted of sending a terrorist to carry out a suicide bombing attack. The terrorist blew himself up on an Egged bus in northern Israel, murdering nine people.
On 7:15 am of Thursday, 4 August 2002, Egged bus No. 361 left Haifa towards Safed and was full of soldiers on their way to military bases in north Israel. The suicide bomber boarded the bus near Karmiel.
At around 8:45 am, when the bus stopped at the Meron junction bus station, the suicide bomber, who was at the back of the bus, detonated the explosive device hidden underneath his clothes.
Six Israeli civilians and three soldiers were killed in the explosion and 38 other passengers were injured, nine of them critically.
Nonetheless, Fukaha was released along with more than 1,000 other terrorists in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in October of 2011, was deported to Gaza and barred from returning to Judea and Samaria.