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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Hamas engineer's body to be returned to Gaza after suspected Malaysia hit

Palestinians have blamed Israel for Fadi Al Batsh's Kuala Lumpur murder

<p>Fighters of the Ezz Al Din Al Qassam&nbsp;Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement make their condolences, to the family of engineer Fadi&nbsp;Al Batsh near his family house in Jabaliya, northern Gaza Strip, 21 April 2018. Mohammed&nbsp;Saber&nbsp;/ EPA</p>
<p>Fighters of the Ezz Al Din Al Qassam&nbsp;Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement make their condolences, to the family of engineer Fadi&nbsp;Al Batsh near his family house in Jabaliya, northern Gaza Strip, 21 April 2018. Mohammed&nbsp;Saber&nbsp;/ EPA</p>

The Palestinian envoy in Malaysia says the body of a Hamas militant killed last week in Kuala Lumpur will be repatriated to the Gaza Strip for burial.

Anwar Al Agha said Tuesday that Egypt agreed to allow the body to be returned through its border with Gaza.

Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had appealed to Egypt to refuse the Palestinian request. The body is expected to arrive in Gaza on Thursday.

Fadi Al Batsh, an electrical engineering lecturer at a Malaysian university, was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle as he was on his way to a mosque early Saturday.

Hamas, a militant group sworn to Israel's destruction, described al-Batch as a "commander" in its military wing and accused Israel of assassinating him.

Israel has long been suspected of involvement in a series of assassination attempts on the lives of Hamas commanders, many of them outside of Gaza and the West Bank. Israeli officials have denied the country was behind the attack, saying that it is regularly accused of such plots even when they are not involved. Mr Lieberman said that while Al Batsh was "no saint", Israel had not ordered his murder.

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Malaysian police said Tuesday they had found the motorcyle allegedly used in the drive-by shooting in Kuala Lumpur.

“The motorcycle is in good condition,” he told reporters, without giving further details.

Malaysian authorities have said that the suspects were likely European or Middle Eastern.

Police have said Al Batsh had lived in Malaysia for more than seven years and was a permanent resident of the country. He had a degree in electrical engineering and lectured at a local university but police couldn't confirm reports that he was an expert in rocket making.

The engineer travelled locally and abroad to speak on Palestinian issues and was due to fly to Turkey for a conference when he was killed, police said.

Tensions are rising between Israel and Hamas in both Gaza and the West Bank. In Gaza, protesters have engaged in weekly rounds of rallies ahead of next month’s Nakba Day, the annual commemoration of what Palestinians believe to be their day of “disaster”. Israeli forces have killed at least 34 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,500 people.