World Bulletin / News Desk
Hamas said on Thursday that one of its members, Kamal Husni Ghanaja, was killed in his Damascus home in what the Palestinian group described as a "cowardly murder".
In a statement in Gaza, Hamas did not immediately accuse Israel, its long-time enemy, of involvement in his death, saying only that it had launched an investigation "to identify the party behind the deplorable crime".
A Hamas source in Gaza said "there were marks of torture" on Ghanaja's body. The organisation, which rules Israel-besieged Gaza Strip, did not disclose his role in the movement but said he spent his life working for the sake of God within its ranks.
Damascus has served as a base for Hamas's leadership in exile but many of the group's top officials and their families in the city have left Syria during its past 16 months of conflict. One Hamas source described Ghanaja as a mid-level military official.
Israel's Mossad intelligence service is widely believed to have been behind the assassination in Dubai in 2010 of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a top Hamas commander. Israel refused to confirm or deny its agents killed him.
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Us Secretary of State John Kerry, whose nine-month peace mediation between the parties collapsed in April 2014, reiterated the American goal of establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel however he made no mention of reviving peace talks.
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