Likelihood of new military confrontation with Israel high: Hamas official

A high-ranking member of the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has strongly condemned the assassination of military commander Mazen Fuqahaa in the southern part of Gaza City, stating that there seems to be a strong possibility of a new military confrontation with the Tel Aviv regime.
“The Israeli enemy operates a number of spies and mercenaries in the Gaza Strip, whom we will hopefully get rid of. A major operation must get underway in order to identify all those responsible for the recent criminal act,” Mahmoud al-Zahar, a co-founder of Hamas, said as thousands of people attended Fuqahaa’s funeral on Saturday and called for “revenge.”
He said Hamas enjoys a vast array of means and mechanisms to give Israel a befitting response over the targeted killing of Fuqahaa, stressing that the resistance movement will not take a knee-jerk decision.
“There is no ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, meaning that the two sides are technically at war. The flames of a confrontation could ignite anytime,” Zahar said.
Israel has launched several wars on the Palestinian sliver, the last of which began in early July 2014. The Israeli military aggression, which ended on August 26 the same year, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also wounded in the war.
Yahya Sinwar (C-R), the new leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and senior political leaders of the Palestinian resistance movement, Ismail Haniyeh (C-L) and Rawhi Moshtaha (L-3) attend the funeral of Hamas official Mazen Fuqahaa in Gaza City on March 25, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Ismail Haniyeh, a senior leader of Hamas, also vowed that the Palestinians will continue the spirited resistance against the Israeli regime.
Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, denounced Fuqahaa’s assassination in a statement, holding Israeli authorities fully responsible for the 38-year-old’s death.
“The Israeli regime is the architect of the latest criminal act. The Israeli enemy seeks to impose its equation of terror through targeted killing of our brave resistance fighters. We will abort such attempts though. The occupier regime of al-Quds will eventually regret its conduct. They should know that if you play with fire, you get burned,” the statement read.
Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, promised retaliation for Fuqahaa’s assassination.
Slain Hamas official and military commander Mazen Fuqahaa
“If the enemy thinks that this assassination will change the power balance, then it should know the minds of Qassam will be able to retaliate in kind,” he said.
Unknown assailants opened fire at Fuqahaa at the entrance to a residence in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City on Friday night. They shot four bullets into the man’s head before they fled the area.
Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said the assassination was carried out with a gun equipped with a silencer.
Hezbollah condemns assassination of Hamas commander
The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah also condemned the assassination of Fuqahaa. 
Hezbollah said the despicable act of terror bears the hallmarks of those carried out by the Israeli regime.
The hostile spirit of the Zionist entity is evident in the crime, which necessitates the fight against the occupying enemy till its expulsion from the occupied (Palestinian) lands, Hezbollah said in a statement released on Saturday.
Fuqahaa, who descended from the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas, was released in 2011 along with more than 1,000 other Palestinians in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whom Hamas had held captive in Gaza for five years.



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