GAZA CITY (Ma’an) –The Israel Prison Service (IPS) prevented Palestinian prisoners in Ktziot prison from organizing a mourning gathering for Mazen Fuqahaa, after the Shalit-deal prisoner and Hamas leader was killed in the Gaza Strip on Friday, in what Hamas has branded an assassination by Israel.
The Gaza-based prisoners’ rights group Muhjat al-Quds Foundation said in a statement that IPS authorities dispersed a gathering held to commemorate Fuqahaa, and also prevented prisoners from organizing any activity in solidarity with him, according to a letter from prisoners in the Negev-region prison.
The letter said prison authorities also placed Islamic Jihad-affiliated prisoner Jumaa Abdullah al-Tayih in solitary confinement, along with three other unidentified Hamas-affiliated prisoners.
IPS also tried to move all Hamas and Islamic Jihad affiliated prisoners from Section 5 to Section 22 of the prison, “but they refused to move,” according to the statement.
IPS authorities have regularly used raids, punitive solitary confinement, confiscation of personal belongings, and forcible prison transfers to suppress resistance among Palestinian prisoners.
A spokesperson for IPS could not immediately be reached for comment on the measures in Ktziot.
Fuqahaa, a well known Hamas leader, was shot with four bullets to the head in front of a residence in southwestern Gaza City on Friday night, with Hamas officials saying the assassination was carried out with a silenced gun by assailants who were “collaborating” with Israel. Hamas has yet to provide proof to support the accusation.
Fuqahaa, from the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas, served nine years out of nine life sentences in Israeli custody, before he was released in 2012 as part of Gilad Shalit prisoners exchange deal. He was then exiled to the besieged Gaza Strip.
According to Palestinian prisoners solidarity network Samidoun
, Fuqahaa was detained three times by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank before ultimately being apprehended by Israel in 2002 in a siege that lasted six hours. He was accused of planning a suicide bombing in northern Israel in 2002 that left nine people dead and tens of others wounded, according to Israeli media.