Hamas official Izzat Al-Rishiq announced on his Facebook page on Wednesday announced that one of its senior members, Kamal Hussein Ranaja, was assassinated at his home outside Damascus. The perpetrators? Israel’s Mossad.
Al-Rishiq said Hamas will investigate the death of Ranaja, who was behind the smuggling of arms from Iran to Gaza for use by Hamas against Israel, but Hamas is already pinning the operation on Israel’s famous secret service organization.
The Palestinian-run International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) quoted the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen News Agency, saying that Ranaja’s killer searched his house in the Qudsaya suburb of Damascus before torturing and assassinating him, and that “all indications are pointing towards a planned assassination carried out by agents of the Israeli Mossad.”
In January 2010, assassins believed to be members of the Mossad snuck into Dubai on forged European passports and killed senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud Al-Madhouh, Ranaja’s former superior.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak during an interview with Army Radio on Thursday morning would not take responsibility for the killing, saying there were many parties interested in the death of Ranaja, who he said was “no saint”.
IMEMC also suggested an alternative theory that Syrian President Bashar Assad could be behind the killing. Hamas has increasingly strengthened its presence in Egypt and Sinai while decreasing its power base in Syria.