TEL AVIV – Mazen Faqha, the senior Hamas terrorist assassinated outside his Gaza home over the weekend, was planning a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank during the upcoming Jewish holiday season, a Palestinian security source close to Hamas’ military wing told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Hamas claimed that Israel was behind the assassination, attributing it to “agents of the occupation” in an official statement.
Last week, the head of Israel’s Shin Bet Security Services told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee “there is no doubt that Hamas will try and carry out attacks during Passover.”
Faqha, originally from the village of Tobas in the northern West Bank, was released from Israeli jail in a 2011 prisoner swap deal and sent to Gaza. The source, whose organization is funded by Hamas and works in tandem with the Izz a-Din al Qassam Brigades, confirmed that he was one of a few top militants in charge of setting up a terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank.
“Mazen was born in the West Bank, and out of all the military commanders he knows the West Bank the best because he spent most of his life there, and proved during the [second] intifada that he was able to plan many attacks,” he said. “Israel even insisted on telling Hamas, via Turkish, Qatari and Egyptian mediators, that it is well aware of his efforts to rebuild that terrorist activity in the West Bank.”
Reviving Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank was Faqha’s “darling project,” he said. The source, who repeatedly used a pejorative to refer to Israel, continued, “[Israel] took pride in killing the Jerusalem intifada [a wave of sporadic violence that started in October 2015], we and Hamas and other organizations wanted to show that it’s alive. The next few weeks were supposed to be under the shadow of these attacks.”
However, he said, “a string of arrests made both by [Israel] and the Palestinian Authority foiled the plan, especially when one ring was arrested in Jenin by the PA and another by the occupation in Hebron. But I can assure you that we will continue our efforts to show [Israel] that it cannot celebrate its festivals while our people lies under the burden of the occupation and its crimes.”
Asked whether the foiled campaign was meant to persuade Iran to resume financial support to Hamas, he said: “I don’t think it was the main aim. Our aim is to create a balance of power with [Israel] and prevent a feeling that the Palestinians could put up with the occupation.”
Hamas refers to the entire state of Israel as “occupied” territory.