Hamas Winds Up Trial of Military Leader’s Alleged Killers

A military court in Gaza on Wednesday concluded the trial of three men accused of assassinating a Hamas military leader and will deliver its verdict at the weekend, an official said.

The trial of the alleged killers of Mazen Faqha opened on Monday and the court held its fourth and final session on Wednesday.

The chief suspect, Ashraf Abu Leila, 38, and two accomplices are charged with shooting dead Faqha, a senior Hamas official, next to his home on March 24.

“The verdict will be delivered on Sunday,” Hamas-run interior ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum told AFP. “It will be final and under Palestinian law the accused have no right of appeal.”

“The sentence will be the death penalty and execution will be carried out as quickly as possible,” said a source close to the military court system.

Hamas has accused the men of colluding with Israel to set up and commit the murder.

In the wake of the killing it launched a large-scale campaign against all “collaborators” in which it said it made 45 arrests.

Hamas hanged three men on April 6, convicted by the military court of past acts of “treason and collaborating” unconnected to Faqha’s slaying.

The assassination in the middle of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip shocked the Islamist movement.

Hamas immediately blamed its arch-enemy Israel, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, and implemented strict border restrictions on those seeking to leave the Palestinian enclave.

Abu Leila was arrested about two weeks after the assassination and his detention was publicly announced by Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniya last Thursday.

Faqha had been in charge of forming cells for Hamas’s military wing in the occupied West Bank.

He had spent years in an Israeli jail before being released as part of a 2011 prisoner exchange deal.

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