Israel was most likely not behind the assassination of Hamas operative Kamal Ranaja in Damascus, Israeli security experts told The Jerusalem Post Thursday.

Ranaja was found dead in his Damascus area home on Wednesday, and Hamas quickly pointed a finger of blame at Israel. Defense Minsiter Ehud Barak told Army Radio on Thursday that Ranaja was not "one of the righteous men of the generation."

"Practically, it's not reasonable that Israel or a Western country would settle accounts with a man like this, at this stage, in Syria. He's not big enough," former senior Mossad member Rami Igra said.

"He's not important enough. To assassinate him would be a very complicated, dangerous operation, and it would be taking a huge chance. I don't see Israel or any Western country willing to take this risk," Igra said, noting the unstable Syrian situation.

On the other hand, "it would not be a problem for any gang in Damascus, maybe one working for Assad, to do this," Igra added. "With certainty I can say, it was not Israel."

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