Hamas blames Israel for senior member assassination, threatens ‘to act’

Hamas blames Israel for senior member assassination, threatens ‘to act’
Hamas has vowed retaliation following the death of a prominent member, who was shot near his home in the Gaza Strip on Friday. He had been serving a life sentence in Israel before being released in a prisoner swap in 2011.

Mazeh Faqha suffered four gunshot wounds to his head and was later pronounced dead in Tell al-Hama neighborhood of the Gaza Strip. It is understood that the perpetrators managed to flee and are now on the run. In the aftermath of the assassination, Gaza police cordoned off the scene and set up checkpoints hunting for suspects.

Iyad al-Bozum, Gaza’s Interior Ministry spokesman, said an investigation into the circumstances of his death has been launched, without elaborating on possible affiliations and motives of the attackers.

While the search for the attackers continues, Hamas was quick to point to Israel as the only possible benefactor from the death of the official, accusing the Israeli authorities or its “collaborators” of being behind the assault.

“This assassination does not serve anybody but the [Israeli] occupiers, it is of no interest to the other parties,” Khalil al-Haya, Hamas deputy chief in Gaza, said as cited by AFP.

In an official statement, cited by Reuters, the militia threatened Israel and its agents with retribution for “this despicable crime,” stating that “Israel knows that the blood of [Hamas] fighters is not spilled in vain and Hamas will know how to act.”

Faqha lived in Gaza after his release from an Israeli jail in 2011, which was agreed to between Hamas and the Israeli government as part of a major prisoner exchange. Over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were set free from Israeli jails in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years after his capture in 2006.

READ MORE: Netanyahu accused of failing to address Hamas tunnel threat ahead of 2014 Gaza war

At the time, Faqha was serving a life sentence for recruiting potential terrorists and arranging attacks on Israel. In particular, he was found guilty of recruiting a suicide bomber to mount an attack in northern Israel in 2002 that claimed the lives of nine people and left over 50 injured.

While Israel officials have not commented on Faqha’s murder yet, the way his assassination was carried out bears similarities to the murder of Hamas engineer Mohammed al-Zoari, who was killed last year, a source close to Hamas’ military wing told The New Arab.

Al-Zoari, a Tunisian national, was one of the leading scientists involved in developing Hamas’ drone program. He was shot dead outside his home in the port city of Sfax on December 15.

Allegations of Israeli involvement in the attack were voiced by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, who said that “there is a suspicion that Israel was involved” in early January.



‘Give Rome back to Romans’: Far-right rally blasts EU ‘tyranny’ ahead of union celebrations (VIDEO)

‘Give Rome back to Romans’: Far-right rally blasts EU ‘tyranny’ ahead of union celebrations (VIDEO)
A crowd of far-right activists waving banners that read “F**k EU” protested “tyranny in Brussels,” blaming eurocrats for inflicting poverty, austerity and uncontrollable migration upon Italians as Rome marks the 60th anniversary of a landmark European treaty.

The rally, which was called by the anti-immigrant Forze Nuova (New Force) group, saw participants gathering in the historic Primavalle quarter of Rome to chant anti-EU slogans and brandish Italian flags with “Give Rome back to Romans” slogan written across them. In abundance were also banners emblazoned with the words, “F**k EU.”

On its Facebook page, Forza Nuova said the action should serve as a “symbol of the popular resistance to tyranny in Europe,” while arguing that Rome under the EU became “invaded by immigrants, betrayed and sold by the leftists.’ 

It urged supporters to join the fight “against immigration and the policies of austerity imposed by eurocrats,” declaring that “truce is over.” The action was supposed to demonstrate that the eternal city is up in arms to “challenge Brussels” and is standing up to the European financial establishment, which the statement labeled as a “gang of bankers stealing our future.” 

The timing of the so-called “march against tyranny” that is due to continue on Saturday in central Rome, has been tailored to the pompous celebrations of anniversary of the landmark EU treaty, signed in 1957 in Rome. The treaty established the European Economic Community (EEC), a predecessor of the EU.

The protesters, however, argued that the “dictatorship” of unelected EU officials over sovereign states is nothing worth celebrating.

“They want to replace both the Italian and European people with Third World people. We say, ‘No. Enough. Stop,’” one of the protesters told RT’s video agency Ruptly, arguing that the Italian government should focus more on the needs of Italians.

“The government should care for only the Italians. It should create policies for Italian families, social policies for Italian families, social rights and it should defend our identity,” he said.

In sharp contrast to the sentiments voiced in the streets, Pope Francis, who welcomed the representatives of the 28-nation bloc in his Vatican residence on Friday, has denounced the anti-immigrant and anti-EU rhetoric that has been on the rise across Europe. He urged the EU leaders not to see “danger” in refugees fleeing war, poverty and persecution and instead welcome their contribution to the European culture.

Calling on EU countries to maintain unity and solidarity, the Pope added an allegorical warning, saying that “when a body loses its sense of direction and is no longer able to look ahead, it experiences a regression and, in the long run, risks dying.”



Illegal U.S. Occupation Forces in Syria and Iraq: Pentagon Intends Establishing “Interim Zones of Stability”


Addressing members of America’s imperial war coalition in Washington Wednesday, Rex Tillerson said Washington intends establishing “interim zones of stability” in Syria and Iraq – without further elaboration.

US-installed Iraqi puppet leader Haider al-Abadi was pressured to let US forces operate in Iraqi territory.

He’s silent on relentless Pentagon terror-bombing, massacring Mosul civilians, ones escaping saying they fear US warplanes as much as ISIS.

Pentagon special forces and marines in Syria are “invaders,” operating illegally, Bashar al-Assad explained. They’re aiding anti-government terrorists pursue US regime change plans.

No-fly or safe zones in foreign countries are illegal without Security Council authorization – not forthcoming with near certain Russian and likely Chinese veto power. US pressure will likely get Abadi to go along. If not, expect a new puppet leader installed to replace him.

Assad rejects them, earlier saying they won’t protect civilians. Domestic safety is only possible when peace, stability and security are restored. Safe zones imposed by foreign powers are illegal and unrealistic.

Why were Syrians displaced in the first place, he asked? For two reasons, he explained:

— “terrorist acts and support from the outside,” as well as

— “the (US) embargo on Syria,” creating enormous hardships for ordinary people through much of the country.

Syrians will again be safe when terrorism is defeated, the embargo lifted, and illegal sanctions rescinded.

Longstanding US/Israeli plans call for redrawing the Middle East map, including partitioning Iraq and Syria – governments in both countries, Iran and Lebanon replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes.

Turkey wants northern Syria and Iraq annexed. Establishing safe zones in either or both countries would require thousands of troops for enforcement.

Last November, Trump endorsed the idea, deplorably saying

“(b)uild a big, beautiful safe zone, and you have whatever it is so people can live, and they’ll be happier.”

Hillary Clinton earlier urged establishing a no-fly zone, the same scheme she used to launch US-led NATO aggression on Libya.

Russia rejects what Assad and his government oppose. CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel supports safe zones in “areas that have already been secured,” he said.

Nothing is secure in war theaters. Baghdad is repeatedly targeted by car-bombings and other terrorist attacks, taking a horrendous human toll.

Endless US imperial wars rage in Syria, Iraq, the horrendous human toll harming civilians most.

All US wars are based on Big Lies, waged for imperial conquest and dominance, unrelated to humanitarian intervention, liberating oppressed people or democracy building.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

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