Hamas accuses Israel of killing co-founder
DAMASCUS: Hamas claimed yesterday that Israeli agents assassinated one of the Palestinian militant group’s veteran operatives last week in Dubai, and vowed to retaliate.
Hamas identified its slain figure as Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 50, one of the founders of its military wing that has been responsible for hundreds of deadly attacks and suicide bombings targeting Israelis since the 1980s.
Hamas blamed Israel for the slaying but gave no details on how al-Mabhouh was killed, or on alleged Israeli involvement. Israel’s government had no immediate comment.
Izzat Rashaq, a top member of Hamas’s exiled leadership in Damascus, said details have not been released to avoid compromising an investigation, and that Hamas’s 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 late last Tuesday or early the following day, Rashaq said.
Born in the Gaza Strip, al-Mabhouh had been married with four children.
Al-Mabhouh was to be buried yesterday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, it said.
It said al-Mabhouh was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989 and that he was still playing a “continuous role in supporting his brothers in the resistance inside the occupied homeland” at the time of his death.
In Dubai, officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hamas rules Gaza but has leaders and operatives based in Damascus, Syria, and elsewhere. The group’s members abroad have been targeted in the past. – Sapa-AP