Hamas official mysteriously killed in Damascus, group accuses Israel's Mossad
Hamas leader believes Mossad behind killing, says Kamel Ranaja was former deputy of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh; Barak: He wasn't one of the righteous ones.
By Avi Issacharoff
A Hamas member was killed in Damascus Wednesday night, the French news agency AFP cited a senior official for the organization as saying, adding that Hamas suspected that the Mossad was behind the killing.
The official, who spoke anonymously, said that "a group of people entered the home of Kamel Ranaja (also known as Nizar Abu Mujhad), and killed him. According to information that we have gathered, the Mossad is behind the attack."
According to the leader, Ranaja was a former deputy of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a top Hamas official who was assassinated in Dubai over two years ago. A Lebanese television station aligned with Iran and Hamas confirmed Ranaja as al-Mabhouh's former deputy.
According to Izzat a-Rashak, a member in the Hamas political bureau, anonymous persons killed Kamel Ranaja (who also goes by Nizar Abu Mujhad), in what was termed as a "criminal act.”
Rashak announced the killing on Facebook, and stated that Hamas is investigating the killing in order to find out who was behind it. Rashak further stated the Ranaja was a member of Hamas for many years who served his movement and his people, adding that his blood was not spilled in vain.
When asked by Army Radio to comment on the reported killing, Defense Minister Ehud Barak refused to deny or confirm Israeli involvement in the incident, only saying: "According to the background published [about], he wasn't one of the righteous men of the generation."
Most Hamas members have left Syria, with only several remaining in the country. Tensions have flared recently between Hamas and the Syrian regime after most of the party’s political leaders fled the country due to the ongoing violence.
Most Hamas members have moved to live in countries such as Egypt, Qatar and Gaza, among others.