TEL AVIV – Two of the main suspects in the assassination of Mazen Faqha, a senior official in Hamas’ military wing in Gaza, were among those Hamas terrorists released from an Israeli jail in return for captured soldier Gilad Shalit, a senior Palestinian figure involved in investigations into the assassination told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Faqha was killed last month in the Tal Alhawa neighborhood of Gaza City in an assassination Hamas blames on Israel, and was himself one of the 1000 Palestinians released in the deal for Shalit. Faqha was a resident of the town of Tobas in the north of the West Bank, but he was deported to Gaza alongside dozens of others released in the deal in accordance with terms that Israel had insisted on as part of the agreement.
Since his assassination in March, Hamas authorities have been working around the clock to identify and capture those responsible. The accepted assessment within the Gaza Strip’s Hamas leadership is that Israel was ultimately behind the killing with the help of local agents.
According to the political figure speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, two individuals who are considered chief suspects and are being held by authorities were among those released in the Shalit deal. The source involved in the investigation told Breitbart Jerusalem that authorities are still searching for a third suspect who is also among those released in the Shalit deal, but it is believed that he has already fled the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently responded to the accusations against Israel, saying that Faqha’s death was the result of infighting within Hamas.
A source from within Hamas told Breitbart Jerusalem that the group rejects Lieberman’s claims, but refused to deny that key suspects in the case were involved in the Shalit deal. According to the source, a gag order on the details of the case is still in place and all angles are being investigated, but that “the only working assumption is that Israel alone could have benefited from the assassination of brother Faqha.”
The source added that “Israel’s attempt to blame assassinations she commits on internal Palestinian strife is a strategy we’ve been familiar with since the beginning of the occupation and it won’t work. Israel’s claims won’t distract us from searching for Israeli agents and getting square with them and Israel.”