Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hamas Chief Blames the Mossad Over Death of Palestinian Engineer in Malaysia
04/21/20183:55:57 PM
by i24NEWS

Dr. Fadi al-Batash, assassinated in Kuala Lumpur after leaving Friday morning prayers April 21, 2018

A senior Hamas leader on Saturday blamed Israel's foreign spy agency the Mossad for the dawn killing of a lauded Palestinian electrical engineer in Malaysia, which the country's deputy prime minister has said was possibly carried out by a nation "unfriendly to Palestine."

Dr. Fadi al-Batsh, originally from Gaza, was shot dead in a quiet street by unidentified gunman as he left his house to lead morning prayers at a mosque in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas' political chief, was quoted as telling the Associated Press that based on past assassinations blamed on Israel, the “Mossad is not away from this disgraceful, terrible crime.”

“There will be an unsettled account between us and it,” Haniyeh reportedly said at a mourning tent set up for the 35-year-old.

“We cannot give up on the blood of our sons, youths and scholars.”

Hamas had initially refrained from pointing the finger at Israel, the Islamist militant group's arch foe.

However al-Batsh's family and terror group Islamic Jihad had immediately accused the Mossad, which has earned a worldwide reputation for often elaborate assassinations in foreign countries.

"His killing could have some links with foreign intelligence agencies or he may also be considered a liability to nations 'unfriendly' to Palestine," Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying earlier Saturday by the New Straits Times newspaper.

"I am saddened by all this and according to police information, the victim had been staying here for 10 years and was an expert in electrical engineering and (building) rocket[s]," he was quoted as saying while opening a local event.

Gunned down at dawn

A local police official said security camera footage showed two gunmen seated on a BMW motorbike waited 20 minutes for al-Batsh to leave his condominium, before opening fire at "point blank" range.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said one of the suspects "fired 10 shots, four of which hit the lecturer in the head and body. He died on the spot."

The deputy prime minister also said the gunmen had "European features," Reuters reported.

Both Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Islamic Jihad claimed Batash as a member. In a statement his family said: "We accuse the Mossad of being behind the assassination."

Senior Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh accused Israel’s Mossad of being responsible for the assassination: “We, as a family, accuse the Mossad of being behind the assassination of Dr. Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, a researcher in energy sciences."

Hamas also released a statement mourning his death, and Hanieyh added that a Hamas representative had been dispatched to Kuala Lumpur to discuss the investigation with authorities there.

"The Islamic Resistance Movement, mourns the son of its sons, the righteous, and a knight of its knights, a scholar of young Palestine scholars and the guardian of the Book of Allah, the son of Jabalia the Mujahideen," Hamas wrote in a press release in response to the death of its affiliate.

"The martyr was distinguished by his excellence and scientific creativity. He has important contributions to international conferences in the field of energy," the press release continued.

"The martyr was an example in calling God and working for the Palestinian cause."

Before travelling to Malaysia to take up a post as a lecturer at a private university, he was previously employed by the Energy Authority in the Gaza Strip and was a resident of Jabaila, Palestinian media reported.

Israel's Education Minister and security cabinet member Naftali Bennett said on Saturday that Al-Batsh's body should not be permitted to return to Gaza for burial until Hamas releases the bodies of two Israeli soldiers it is holding.

Hamas member

A revered engineer, Al-Batsh was granted with a number of prestigious scientific awards, including from the Malaysian government. He received a PhD in electrical engineering from the Malaysian University of Malaya and during the course of his study, published 18 scholarly pieces of researches featured in a number of international journals.

The Palestinian representative in Malaysia, Anwar al-Agha, told AFP that Al-Batsh, who was married and a father of three, was a lecturer in electrical engineering who had lived in Malaysia for the past 10 years.

"I visited the site of the attack. Fadi is a member of Hamas," he said.

Asked if Mossad could be responsible for his killing, he said: "I cannot comment on this. We have to wait for the official investigation."

On Saturday Israel's Hadashot reported, without citing sources, that Al-Batsh had authored materials on the propulsion of drones.

Alongside his scientific career, Fadi was also an imam and involved with Islamic organizations such as MyCARE.

He was scheduled to travel to Turkey on Sunday for an international conference on energy, the Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia was quoted as saying by local media, adding that he “was a kind, friendly and a quiet person, he mixed well with everyone."

The Mossad is believed to have assassinated Palestinian militants and scientists in the past, but has never confirmed such operations.

Hamas has accused Mossad of assassinating one of its drone experts -- Mohamed Zouari -- in Tunisia in 2016, and the spy agency is also believed to have been behind the 2010 murder of top Hamas militant Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel.

AFP contributed to this report.

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