Hamas senior officer and operative, Kamal Ranaja, known as Nizzar Abu-Mujhad, was murdered in his Damascus apartment in the Qudsaya neighborhood last night. According to a new Arabic TV station called "Al-Mayadeen", Abu-Mujhad was the second in command and aide to the late Mahmoud El-Mabhouh, who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010. As in a number of previous terrorist assassinations, the Mossad is blamed, as in the case here and in the Dubai case.
Hamas issued a statement immediately after discovery of the body last night, announcing an investigation is being launched to find who is behind this "despicable crime". No further details were issued regarding the apparent cause of death, suspects, etc.
A number of Syrian opposition sources asserted that Assad's regime was behind the murder, as retribution on Hamas for "turning its back" on the Syrian government. According to one opposition source, Abu Majhud was tortured prior to the assassination.
In any case, most specialists claim that as a Hamas senior terrorist Kamal Ranaja had a long list of enemies, including the Israelis. According to Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak who was asked about the incident, the Israeli defense agencies were not involved, although Ranaja was not righteous and received was he deserved. This opinion was reiterated by former Asst. chief commander of the General internal security in Israel Member of Knesset /parliament Israel Hasson: "The man was in charge of smuggling 'Special weapons' into Gaza and therefore I cannot be saddened by his demise…".
He operated extensively and was involved together with his commander El-Mabhouh in kidnapping IDF soldiers, smuggling arms from Iran into Gaza strip for Hamas, and more. The entire incident comes subsequently after former Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades Hamas commander was indicted for 46 counts of murder.
A number of senior Hamas top officials and among them Khaled Mashaal are scheduled to arrive in Jordan to attend Kamal Ranaja's funeral.