Chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau Khaled Mashal spoke at a rally in memory of senior level Hamas commander Mazen Faqha who was assassinated next to his house in Gaza. In his first official statement regarding the event, Mashal blamed Israel.

Khaled Mashal

Khaled Mashal Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Today (Monday), Chairman of Hamas’ Political Bureau Khaled Mashal spoke at a rally following the assassination of a senior level commander of Hamas’ military wing Mazen Faqha. According to reports, Faqha was shot with a suppressor at close range in the neighborhood of Tel al-Hawa. “Israel decided to change the rules of the game?” He said. “We accept the challenge.”

“The treacherous hand of the Zionists assassinated Mazen Faqha,” Mashal added. “If the enemy changed the rules of the game and the rules of the conflict- the leadership of the movement, with its military and political components, will accept the challenge.”

The circumstances of the incident weren’t detailed in the official statement, however, Hamas spokespersons in Gaza already blamed “Israeli agents” for the elimination. “The elimination of Mazen Faqha was planned and executed by Israel,” Hamas’ military wing wrote. “The enemy will pay a price equal to the assassination of a Shahid. Those who play with fire will burn from it.”

Mazen Faqha

Mazen Faqha Photo credit: Channel 2 News

Sources in Hamas told journalists in Gaza that Faqha was shot after parking his vehicle in his home’s private parking with 4 bullets and killed on the spot. Hamas suspect that the proximity of the assassination to the beach allowed the attackers to escape the scene through the sea. “We are certain that the Israeli establishment was behind the assassination as it was carefully planned,” the General Prosecutor of Gaza said.