' Israel killed Hamas member in Dubai'

Group claims suspect in murder of 2 IDF soldiers in 1988 was killed on Jan. 20.

hamas men masked 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas men masked 298
(photo credit: AP [file])

Hamas claimed on Friday thatIsraeli agents assassinated one of the Islamist group's veteran operatives in akilling allegedly carried out last week in Dubai, and vowed to retaliate.

The group blamed for the slaying ofMahmoud al-Mabhouh but offered no evidence of foul play or Israeli involvementin the man's death.

The government had no immediatecomment.

The Hamas operative was killed onJanuary 20, according to an announcement on a Hamas Web site. The statement gaveno details about his death or any explanation for the delay in making itpublic.

"We in Hamas hold the Zionistenemy responsible for the criminal assassination of our brother, and we pledgeto God and to the blood of the martyrs and to our people to continue his pathof jihad and martyrdom," read the statement on Hamas' PalestinianInformation Center Web site. The group pledged to "retaliate for thisZionist crime at the appropriate time and place."

Mabhouh will be buried Friday atthe Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, the statement said.

The Hamas statement identifiedMabhouh as one of the founders of Hamas' military organization, which has beenresponsible for hundreds of deadly attacks and suicide bombings targetingIsraelis since the 1980s. It said he was involved in the kidnapping and murderof two Israeli soldiers, Ilan Sa’adon and AviSasportas, in 1989 and that he was still playing a "continuous rolein supporting his brothers in the resistance inside the occupied homeland"at the time of his death.

He was born in the Gaza Strip.

In Dubai,officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Responding to the report, meanwhile,Sa’adon’s mother told Army Radio on Friday morning she was happy to hearreports that a Hamas operative believed to be involved in her son’s murder.

 “I am happy that [his death] has been avenged,but sad that 20 years passed before this happened,” Sa’adon’s mother, Gilbert,told the radio station.