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March 26, 2017 4:33 pm

In Wake of Assassination of Senior Hamas Commander, IDF Instructs Israeli Farmers Not to Approach Gaza Border Fence

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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An Israeli orchard. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Farmers in southern Israel were instructed by the IDF not to go near the security fence along the Gaza border, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Sunday, quoting an anonymous defense source from the area.

According to the source, the directive was issued in the wake of the assassination two days ago of a senior Hamas commander and sporadic rocket-fire into Israel over the past few weeks.

“This is just a precautionary measure,” the source told nrg, claiming that in all other respects, business is being conducted as usual among residents of the border communities. “We are always keeping our fingers on the pulse; we’re not closing our eyes to anything.”

Mazen Fuqaha, a leader of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was killed outside his Gaza City home late Friday night by a bullet to the head. Hamas immediately accused Israel of carrying out the assassination, but Jerusalem has not commented on the matter.

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Fuqaha, who had been sentenced to life in prison for planning a suicide bombing on an Israeli bus in 2002, which left nine dead and 38 wounded, was released in the 2011 swap for abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, held for five years in Hamas captivity.

In a statement vowing revenge for Fuqaha’s death, a spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said, “…the enemy will pay a price for this crime that is equal in size to the assassination of our martyr leader. He who plays with fire will be burned by it.”

According to nrg, Hamas spokesman Fauzi Barhoum accused the Mossad of being behind the killing, warning, “The response will be shocking and will hit the heart of Tel Aviv.”

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