Hamas’ prime minister in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniyeh vowed “divine punishment”on Saturday for the assassins of so-called military wing operative Mazen Faqha last week, and said his group was preparing “radical measures” against Palestinians caught collaborating with Israel.
Haniyeh said, “These murderers and their dispatchers will not escape divine punishment, punishment by the people and punishment by the resistance organizations.”
“Assassinations do not frighten us,” he added, according to a report on Channel 2 news.
The terror group has accused Israel of killing Faqha on March 24. Faqha was a Hamas operative released as part of a prisoner exchange that secured the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit from Hamas captivity.
Faqha was shot dead by men using guns with silencers near his home in southwest Gaza City. According to the Palestinians, he was shot four times in the head.
Israel did not comment on his assassination.
Haniyeh pledged that “every hand that hurt the martyr Mazen … will be cut off.”
The Hamas Interior Ministry, meanwhile, said, “Vigorous steps will be taken against the agents and collaborators of Israel in coming hours and days.”
Iyad al-Bozum, the Palestinian ministry’s spokesperson, said the measures may include arrests, trials and even executions.
On the Sunday after the assassination, the terror group established roadblocks near the Erez Crossing with Israel. On Monday, the roadblocks were opened for people entering Gaza City but remained closed for Palestinians wishing to leave the coastal territory.
Hamas was reportedly looking for the assassins, believing they never left Gaza.
On Wednesday, the group posted a video showing Israeli politicians and military figures with cross hairs on their faces. The officials shown included Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and others.
Faqha, 38, was released after serving nine life sentences for his role in planning a terror attack in 2002 in which nine Israelis were killed and 52 were wounded.
Originally from a small village in the West Bank, Faqha was head of a Hamas office tasked with launching terror attacks against Israel. His subordinates specialized in recruiting suicide attackers, collecting weapons and preparing explosive devices. After his release in the Schalit prisoner exchange he was expelled to Gaza.
His father said last week that Israeli authorities had contacted him repeatedly, telling him to warn his son against taking part in terror activities or there would be consequences.