DAMASCUS - Israel has assassinated a senior Hamas military commander in Dubai, an official in the Palestinian Islamist group said Friday.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed on January 20, Izzat al-Rishq told Reuters in the Syrian capital Damascus.

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.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis)