Hamas on Friday threatened retaliation over the killing of Iyad abu Shilbayeh, formerly a senior operative in the organization, who was killed during an IDF raid east of the West Bank city of Tulkarem overnight.
Hamas accused Israel and the Palestinian Authority of conspiring to kill Shilbayeh, who they claimed was imprisoned and tortured by the PA several times.
Hamas military spokesman in Gaza Abu Obeida confirmed Shilbayeh was a member of the group's armed wing: "The blood of our martyr will be a curse that will follow the occupation and the traitors," he said, referring to Hamas' rivals in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which has ruled only the West Bank since losing control of the Gaza Strip, to Hamas militants in 2007.
Hamas spokesman Salah Bardawil told the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency that the "resistance is capable of striking harshly at the occupation. Our battle with the occupation is not just about action and retaliation. It is a fateful battle that will never end."
Another spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that "the murder was the result of negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He too blamed the PA and Fatah, saying "the occupation authority and Fatah are accomplices in the assassination."
The PA, meanwhile, also denounced the "assassination": Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in a statement that "the assassination is a grave escalation and enhances the existing distrust in the already shaky peace process."
Following the incident, Palestinian security forces have declared high alert, amid concerns that Hamas will retaliate by launching attacks in the West Bank.
Roee Nahmias and Reuters contributed to this report
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