A day after the head of Hamas announced that the murderer of Mazen Fukha was captured, the family of the assassinated official claimed that the assassin was a man named Ashraf Abu Laila, 37, from the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.
Since the publication, it has been claimed that he was a member of Hamas' military wing in the past and was expelled for moral offenses. Later, it was claimed that he had joined one of the Salafi groups in the Gaza Strip and was recruited by the Mossad.
Other sources mentioned that he was a car dealer and that his brother was a senior member of the military wing of Hamas. It was also claimed that some of Abu Laila's family members work in various government institutions in Gaza that are subordinate to Hamas.
On Thursday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh held a press conference and announced the arrest of the man who killed Fukha, who, according to him, acted in accordance with instructions from the Israeli defense establishment. Haniyeh, who appeared alongside Fukha's widow and Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, added that the suspect confessed to the incident.
"The murderer will be tried and punished by law. Despite the pain, we are happy at this moment and proud of our security apparatuses," said Haniyeh. The fact that the Hamas leader Haniyeh delivered the announcement proves the significance Hamas attributed to Fukha and his assassination.
On Thursday, the Hamas military prosecution in Gaza carried out a reenactment of the assassination with the suspect after Haniyeh officially announced that he had been arrested along with others involved in the assassination. It was not divulged who the others were.
Fukha was assassinated at close range near his home in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood of southwest Gaza City by an assassin or assassins who used weapons with a silencer. They shot him in the head with four bullets and fled. He died immediately.
After the assassination, Hamas pointed an accusing finger at Israel and claimed that it wanted to create fear among the other released prisoners who had been deported to the Gaza Strip and felt that they were protected against liquidation. In the context of the investigation, Hamas imposed a siege on Gaza and prohibited the entry and exit of any person except for exceptional humanitarian cases.
Fukha, a Hamas member from Tubas, was sentenced in 2003 to nine life terms after being convicted of sending a terrorist to carry out a suicide bombing attack. The terrorist blew himself up on an Egged bus near Safed and killed nine people. Fukha was released from prison in the Shalit deal in 2011 and due to the gravity of his actions, he was deported to the Gaza Strip.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)