Israel has assassinated a senior Hamas military commander in Dubai, an official in the Palestinian Islamist group said on Friday.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed on Jan. 20, Izzat al-Rishq told Reuters in the Syrian capital Damascus.
"Mabhuh died a martyr in Dubai on January 20, 2010 in suspect circumstances that require an inquiry in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates authorities," Hamas said in a statement released in its Gaza stronghold.
"We hold Israel responsible for the assassination of our brother and leader," the statement said, adding Hamas would "retaliate for this Zionist crime at the appropriate moment."
There was no immediate Israeli reaction to the allegation, which gave no details on exactly how he died.
Rishq said Mabhouh was an "important" member of Izz el-Deen al- Qassam brigades, Hamas's military wing named after a Syrian religious leader who fought British colonial forces in Palestine in the 1930s.
He said Mabhouh, who had been living in Syria since 1989, was assassinated a day after he arrived in Dubai but that Hamas could not say more at present about how he was killed.
Mabhouhs pent several spells in Israeli custody. After his last release, "he spent his life being hounded by the Zionist occupier until he succeeded in leaving the Gaza Strip," Hamas said.
Mabhuh died a martyr in Dubai on January 20, 2010 in suspect circumstances that require an inquiry in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates authorities
Meanwhile, Dubai police identified several European passport holders among a gang of suspects in the killing of a top Hamas militant in the emirate, the government said in a statement on Friday.
"Preliminary investigations indicate that the crime was committed by a professional criminal gang that was following the victim before he came to the United Arab Emirates" on January 19, the statement said, quoting Dubai police.
It said that the members of the gang, "mostly holders of European passports," managed to flee the country before the death of Mahmud al-Mabhuh on January 20.
Dubai police will work with the Interpol to capture the suspects, it said, adding that "the culprits left a trace behind that points to them and will help in chasing and arresting them."
"The trace that was found by investigators will help immensely in tracking the culprits," it added.
Preliminary investigations indicate that the crime was committed by a professional criminal gang that was following the victim before he came to the United Arab Emirates
Dubai police statement