By R. Blum
The Palestinian Authority’s chief peace negotiator condemned Israel for the death of the Hamas terrorist who killed a prominent rabbi earlier this month, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, Saeb Erekat called the IDF’s raid, in which 29-year-old Muhammad Fakia lost his life resisting arrest, a “crime.”
Fakia – whom Hamas referred to as the “hero of the Otniel attack” – shot and killed Rabbi Michael (Miki) Mark, as he drove his wife and two of his 10 children to a Shabbat dinner.
In spite of Erekat’s response, a member of Fakia’s family accused the PA’s security forces of providing Israel with the information on the terrorist’s whereabouts, which led to his death.
In Fakia’s hometown of Dura in southern Hebron, a general strike was declared in his honor.
The raid in which Fakia was killed was the culmination of a joint operation of the IDF, the Shin Bet and the Israel Police. Over the past few weeks since the shooting attack on Mark’s car, in which some members of his family were also wounded, intelligence-gathering exposed Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank. Late Tuesday night, joint forces raided the Palestinian village of Tzurif near Hebron, where Fakia was hiding out. He was killed in a gun battle that ensued when he resisted arrest.
According to the Shin Bet, Fakia had served prison time in the past for his activity in the terrorist organization Islamic Jihad, which included the planning of terrorist attacks against Israelis. It was during his time in jail that he shifted loyalties and became a member of Hamas.
During Tuesday night’s raid, Fakia’s accomplices to Mark’s murder were arrested. These were: Muhammad Amira, who also took part in the attack, and members of an additional cell that abetted the two. Amira, 38, was a member of the PA’s national security forces. He had been arrested about three days after the attack, and during his interrogation, he admitted to having driven the car out of whose window Fakia committed the fatal shooting. He also led the Shin Bet to the vehicle and weapon used in the attack.
Also arrested was Tzahiv Fakia, Muhammad’s brother, who confessed to helping his brother hide out and store weapons in his possession. A cousin – Ma’ez Fakia – was also arrested, who confessed to providing the killer with a place to stay during the days immediately following the attack. Additional family members were detained for questioning about their role in helping Fakia hide out after the attack.
According to nrg, the Mark family responded to the news of the raid with a mixture of relief and anger. They were glad that the people responsible for the murder of the head of their household were apprehended, but furious at the discovery that one of the perpetrators was in the employ of the PA security forces – and at the revelation that others had served in and been released from an Israeli prison.
As The Algemeiner reported, the attack took place on Route 60 in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), when terrorists overtook the family car and fired at least 19 shots at them. Michael Mark, who was driving, was killed, causing the car to flip over. His wife, Hava Mark, was treated for critical injuries at the Hadassah/Ein Kerem Medical Center in Jerusalem – and was unable to attend his funeral. The couple’s 14-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son were wounded, but have since recovered.
(c) 2016 The Algemeiner Journal