Hamas claimed today one of its veteran fighters was killed by Israeli agents in Dubai last week.
The Palestinian militant group offered no evidence for the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’ military organisation, which has been responsible for hundreds of attacks and suicide bombings targeting Israelis since the 1980s.
Al-Mabhouh, 50, was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989.
Izzat Rashaq, a top member of Hamas’ exiled leadership in Syria, said details have not been released to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation, and that Hamas’ delayed announcement was linked to an attempt to “reach the Israeli agents who implemented this operation.”
Al-Mabhouh lived in Syria and was passing through Dubai when he was killed, Rashaq said.
Hamas rules the Gaza strip, but has leaders and operatives based in Damascus, Syria and elsewhere.
The group’s members abroad have been targeted in the past. The leader of the group’s Damascus-based politburo, Khaled Mashaal, survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Amman, Jordan, in 1997. Last month, two Hamas men were killed in a mysterious late-night blast in Beirut. Hamas said at the time that Israel was an obvious suspect but stopped short of openly accusing Israel of the killings.
Israel is suspected of being behind the assassination of a senior military commander from the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah in Damascus in 2008.
Mossad, Israel’s intelligence arm abroad, never openly discusses its operations and Israel’s government does not comment on incidents in which the Mossad’s involvement is suspected.