In a rare show of the pot calling the kettle black, a military court in Gaza City on Tuesday sentenced a Fatah military leader Zaki al-Sakani to 15 years in jail, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports.
Zaki, 48, from Gaza City’s Shujaiyya neighborhood, was detained four years ago and held in a Gaza jail.
After Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in July 2008, the security services of Hamas stormed al-Sakani’s home in the Zaytoun neighborhood, but he escaped, Fatah sources said. Hamas forces confiscated his handgun, a homemade projectile, and several mortar shells and explosives, as well as a computer.
On July 25, 2008, five high profile leaders of the Hamas’ military wing were killed in an explosion near the beach in Gaza City and about 40 civilians were injured. Hamas then accused al-Sakani of being behind that explosion.
In August 2008, the Hamas-affiliated website Palestine Today quoted sources privy to the details as saying that security services in Gaza detained four suspects including Zaki al-Sakani, a Fatah-affiliated explosives expert.
Al-Sakani was in al-Shifa hospital when he was arrested and jailed, having survived an assassination attempt on himself a day earlier. A group of gunmen had opened fire on al-Sakani and he had undergone surgery before he was jailed by Hamas’ security.
Al-Sakani was wanted by Israel for his role in manufacturing explosives. As the second Palestinian Intifada had entered its second year, al-Sakani along with late Fatah leader Abdul-Muti al-Sabaawi designed the first homemade mortar shell and went on to produce hundreds of shells.
Israeli intelligence tried to hunt Al-Sakani down through several targeted assassinations, including one which injured him in Gaza City while he was launching mortar shells at an Israeli settlement, before the “disengagement” from Gaza.