Israeli agents have assassinated a senior Hamas military commander in Dubai, an official in the Palestinian group said on Friday.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed on Jan. 20, Izzat al-Rishq told Reuters in the Syrian capital Damascus.
"I cannot reveal the circumstances. We are working with the authorities in the United Arab Emirates," said Rishq, who is a member of Hamas's politburo.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
Rishq said Mabhouh was an important member of Izz el-Deen al- Qassam brigades, Hamas's military wing named after a Syrian religious leader who fought British colonial forces in Palestine in the 1930s.
Born in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the Gaza Strip, Mabhuh was one of the founders of Hamas's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing. He was 50 at the time of his death.
Mabhouh who had been living in Syria since 1989, was assassinated a day after he arrived in Dubai, said Rishq.
Israel has killed dozens of leaders and military figures in Hamas, which was founded two decades ago as a religious resistance movement against Israeli occupation.
Rishq, who lives in exile in Damascus, along with several of Hamas's main figures, said Mabhouh engineered the capture of two Israeli soldiers during a Palestinian uprising in the 1980s. The soldiers were later killed.
Mabhouh was imprisoned several times by Israeli forces. Israel razed his home in Gaza, Rishq added.
Another Palestinian source told Reuters news agency, Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai without any injuries to his body.
He had barricaded the door of his room with chairs.
"It seems that an autopsy was ordered and found traces of poison in his body. Mabhouh was also ill. Hamas controls the information on this," the source said.
Mabhouh's brother, Fayek, told Reuters in Gaza that his brother was killed by strangulation after receiving an electric shock and that two people were involved in the killing.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made an impassioned speech to thousands of mourners at Mabhouh's funeral on Friday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk on the edge of Damascus. Hamas's green flag covered the body as it was lowered into the grave.
Meshaal described Mabhouh as a "great man" who fought the Israelis for 30 years.
"I say to you Zionists, do not rejoice. You killed him but his sons will fight you," he said. "God already took our leaders and loved ones, but resistance goes on. Palestine is a blessed land. It will not remain patient."
Hamas also has a presence in Lebanon. A bomb in Beirut killed two of its members in December.
And in 1997, Mossad agents poisoned Hamas's now leader Khaled Meshaal in a botched assassination bid in Jordan's capital Amman.
Related news reports:Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2010, 16:41