The Palestinian group Hamas has warned Israel that it would avenge the “assassination” of one of its top military commanders which took place here earlier this month.

Hamas has alleged that Israel assassinated Mahmud Abdel Rauf Al-Mabhouh, one of the founding members of its military wing, on January 20 in Dubai.

“Mahmud Abdel Rauf Al-Mabhouh died a martyr in Dubai on January 20, 2010 in suspect circumstances that require an inquiry in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates authorities,” said the Hamas in a statement released from Gaza on Friday.

“We hold Israel responsible for the assassination of our brother and leader,” it said. Mabhouh was suspected of having participated in the capture and subsequent killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989.

Damascus-based Hamas media official Izzat Al-Rishq said Mabhouh was an “important” member of Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam brigades, the military wing of Hamas named after a Syrian religious leader who battled British colonial forces in Palestine in the 1930s.

He added that Mabhouh had been living in Syria since 1989. He was assassinated a day after he arrived in Dubai, said Rishq without revealing details.

Reuters quoting a Palestinian source said Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai without any injuries. He had barricaded the door of his room with chairs, a standard precaution by a man who felt that Israeli intelligence had been after him for 20 years. The website of the Lebanese group Hizbollah quoted Mabhouh’s brother as saying the Hamas military leader died as a result of electric shock.

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