Hamas Blames Mossad for Damascus Hit

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hamas blamed Israel's Mossad for the death of a senior member who was shot dead in his apartment in a Damascus suburb late Wednesday.

Kamal Hussein Ranaja (also called Nizzar Abu Mujhad) was a deputy of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the senior military commander assassinated in his Dubai hotel room in 2010.

Al-Mabhouh founded the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. At the time, Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim also blamed the Mossad for his death.

Quoting a Hamas official in Lebanon, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the terror group's spokesman said "according to the information we have gathered, the Mossad is behind the attack," YNet reported.

According to the report, Ranaja will be buried in Jordan, with a number of the group's senior members in attendance, including top-ranking Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzuk. They plan to meet with Jordanian government officials while in Jordan, perhaps including King Abdullah II.

Meanwhile, several members of Syria's opposition group said President Bashar Assad's hit men killed Ranaja. A former journalist says the assassination was meant as a wakeup call to Hamas for criticizing Assad's crackdown against Syria's civilian population.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio Ranaja "was no saint" and there were many who wanted to see him eliminated. Barak didn't comment one way or the other on accusations that Mossad was behind the assassination.

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