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Kamal Ranaja
Kamal Ranaja 
 
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh Photo: AFP
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh Photo: AFP
 
 

Hamas: Mossad behind Damascus hit

Leader of terror group in Lebanon blames Israel's secret service for death of Kamal Ranaja. Palestinian sources claim Ranaja replaced Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, was in charge of logistics of weapons smuggling into Gaza

Elior Levy
Latest Update: 06.28.12, 11:57 / Israel News

A Hamas official in Lebanon blamed Israel's Mossad for the death of a senior operative who the group said was assassinated in his Damascus apartment on Wednesday.

 

The leader, who spoke anonymously, said that "a group of people entered the home of Kamal Ranaja (also known as Nizar Abu Mujhad), and killed him. According to information that we have gathered, the Mossad is behind the attack."

 

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A delegation of senior Hamas politburo officials including Khaled Mashaal and Mousa Abu Marzook is set to arrive in Jordan to attend Ranaja's funeral.

 

The group was meant to visit Jordan over the weekend or early next week but its members decided to push up their visit in order to attend the funeral. They are slated to meet Jordanian officials and possibly also King Abdullah II.

 

There was no word about the manner in which Ranaja met his death. Shortly after his death was announced, the new pan-Arabic television station Al-Mayadeen reported that he used to serve as aide to Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas member who took part in several terror attacks and was also involved in kidnapping and killing IDF soldiers.

 

Palestinian sources in Damascus said that Ranaja had been appointed to replace Mabhouh after his assassination in Dubai in 2010. Ranaja was reportedly in charge of the logistics of weapons smuggling from Iran, Syria and Lebanon to the Gaza Strip.

 

The sources claim in the past few months, Ranaja smuggled quality weapons to Gaza via Egypt and the Red Sea. This report has not been confirmed by officials.

 

Hussein Murtada, director of Iran's al-Alam TV in Damascus, said that Ranaja was in charge of Hamas training and that even his closet associates did not exactly know what role he played.

 

He claimed that the armed group that assassinated him had burned his house in the Damascus suburb of Qudsia so as not to leave traces after stealing documents from his home.

 

Murtada added that evidence shows that the assassins were deeply familiar with Ranaja and the nature of his work.

 

Ranaja, also known as Nizar Abu Mujhad, was born in 1967 and was married with five children.  

 

The Syrian opposition claimed President Bashar Assad's regime was responsible for Ranaja's assassination.

 

One opposition activist, a former journalist, said Assad's regime ordered the hit. She claimed Ranaja was tortured before he was killed.

 

According to her, the hit was a message to Hamas, which turned its back on Assad following the violent crackdown on the opposition.

 

AFP contributed to this report

 

 

 

First Published: 06.28.12, 07:56

 

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