The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, announced Wednesday that one of its senior political leaders was assassinated at his home in the Syrian capital Damascus. On his Facebook page, Hamas official Izzat Al-Rishiq stated that Kamal Ghanaja, also known as Nizar Abu Mujahid, was assassinated in what he called “a cowardice crime” in Damascus. Al-Rishiq added that Hamas is conducting an investigation into the crime.

Following the assassination of Kamal, several Israeli media outlets rushed to accuse him of being behind several shipments of weapons smuggled through Iran to the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas movement said that the assailants are unknown, and did not accuse any party of the assassination, while several websites run by the opposition in Syria claimed that the regime of Bashar Assad is behind the assassination.

They said that “the Syrian government tortured Kamal before assassinating him”, and that the murder is meant as a message to the Hamas movement “to think thoroughly before turning their backs to Assad”.

The Al-Mayadeen News Agency, based in Beirut – Lebanon, reported that the gunmen searched the home of the Hamas official before killing him, and added that “all indications are pointing towards a planned assassination carried out by agents of the Israeli Mossad”.

In January 2010, several Israeli Mossad agents, carrying different forged European passports, assassinated a Hamas official, Mahmoud Al-Madhouh, at his hotel room in Dubai. Kamal Ghanaja, who was assassinated today in Syria, was formerly an assistant of Al-Mabhouh.