Palestinian man killed in Malaysia ‘was Hamas member’
The family of Fadi Al Batsh, 35, has blamed Israel’s spy agency for his death
A Palestinian lecturer who was shot dead in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday was a member of Hamas, the Islamist group said.
Fadi Al Batsh, an engineering lecturer, was a "loyal" member and a "scientist of Palestine's youth scholars”, Hamas said. He was “assassinated at treacherous hands on Saturday...as he walked for the dawn prayers,” it added in a statement.
Mr Al Batsh’s family have accused Israel’s intelligence agency of targeting him, according to news agencies.
Hamas said it had sent a delegation to meet with Malaysian officials to discuss the killing. Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said Israel's Mossad intelligence service had been behind past attempts to assassinate Palestinian scientists, and that al-Batsh's killing "follows this sequence."
Officials in Israel declined to comment.
Malaysia's deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, also said the government was looking into the possibility of the involvement of "foreign agents" in his killing.
Two unidentified men on a motorbike fired at least eight shots at the man, the Kuala Lumpur police said. He died immediately.Closed-circuit television showed the assassins had waited for him for almost 20 minutes, the police added.
Police chief Mazlan Lazim declined to comment on whether the man was a Hamas member, when asked by Reuters. “It’s too early to say, we are still investigating all aspects.”
Al Batsh’s cousin Khaled Al Batsh, a senior official of Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, accused Israeli Mossad espionage service of carrying out the assassination, the Associated Press reported. However, he did not provide evidence.
Al Batsh's uncle Jamal Al Batsh, speaking to Reuters, also said he believed the killing was the work of Mossad.
When asked who he blamed, he said: "The Israeli Mossad. The Israeli Mossad stood behind the assassination of educated people and intellectuals because Israel knows Palestine will be liberated by scientists."
"Therefore, they tracked this young educated man."
Israel has a long history of suspected targeting of wanted Palestinian militants and has been connected to other assassinations as well, although it has never acknowledged them.
Last year, Hamas accused Mossad for assassinating their drone expert, Mohammed Zawahri, in Tunisia.
Zawahri, a former Tunisair pilot, was shot dead in December 2016. Speaking to the press in November 2017, Mohammed Nazzal, a member of Hamas who had led an investigation into the assassination, lay the blame squarely at Israel’s door. He also claimed that Zawahri had been under Mossad surveillance for months before his death.
Hamas, who have de-facto control of Gaza, are bitter enemies of Israel and the two sides have fought three wars since 2008. Tensions have escalated in recent weeks as mass protests along the Gaza-Israel border led to the death of 32 Palestinians at the hands of Israeli troops.
Updated: April 22, 2018 12:21 AM