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Hamas shuts Gaza crossing blaming Israel for Faqha's assassination Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Hamas shuts Gaza crossing blaming Israel for Faqha's assassination

People are calling on Hamas to respond to Faqha's assassination by retaliating against Israeli [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 March, 2017

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The Erez crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for people.
Hamas shut the crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Sunday after the assassination of one of its officials in the Palestinian enclave.

A statement from the interior ministry in Gaza, run by Hamas, said it was shutting the Erez crossing for an indefinite period as it investigates the murder on Friday.

Hamas officials have blamed Israeli intelligence agency Mossad for the killing of Mazen Faqha, 38, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Israel has not commented on the shooting.

A source close to Hamas' military wing, the Qassam Brigades, told The New Arab Faqha's murder appears similar to the assassination of the Tunisian drone expert Mohamed Zaouari, which the group pinned on Israel.

Faqha was a senior Hamas official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank but after his release in 2011, Israel transferred him to Gaza.

He was freed along with more than 1,000 other Palestinians in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier Hamas had detained for five years.

Thousands took to the streets of Gaza city on Saturday to take part in his funeral.

Civilians joined leaders of several Palestinian political factions, in addition to members of the al-Qassam Brigades, in a procession through the city's streets to pay their respects.

During the funeral procession, participants chanted slogans calling on Hamas to respond to Faqha's assassination by retaliating against the alleged Israeli action, reported The New Arab correspondent Dia Khalil.  

Israel did not immediately comment in detail on Sunday's closure but said its side of the crossing remained open.

The Erez crossing is the only one between Gaza and Israel for people. Another crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom, is used for goods.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. Gaza's sole crossing with Egypt has also remained largely closed in recent years.

Agencies contributed to this report 

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