Saturday, April 21, 2018

Palestinian Lecturer and Hamas Member Assassinated in Malaysia
Ten shots were fired at the Palestinian professor early on Saturday morning

A Palestinian professor and member of the Hamas militant organisation has been killed in a drive-by shooting on the streets of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The family of Fadi al-Batsh, 35, has accused Israel's spy agency Mossad of being behind his killing on Saturday.

Malaysian officials said the suspects are believed to have links to a foreign intelligence agency.

Israeli officials have not yet commented on the killing.

Hamas has accused Israel of conducting assassinations of its experts abroad in the past, although Mossad has never confirmed such operations.

A recent case involved the killing of a Tunisian national who was believed to be a Hamas drone expert in 2016.

Fadi al-Batsh was walking from his residence to a nearby mosque at about 0600 on Saturday (2300 GMT Friday) when he came under attack.

Two gunmen on a motorbike fired 10 shots, killing him on the spot, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim said.

"Preliminary investigations found four gunshot wounds on the victim's body. Two bullet slugs were found at the scene of the incident," he added in a statement.

The police chief said that CCTV footage showed the suspects, who later fled the scene, had waited about 20 minutes in the area before attacking Mr Batsh.

"We believe the lecturer was their target because two other individuals walked by the place earlier unharmed."

Hamas said the victim, a research scientist who specialised in energy issues, was one of its members.

Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid, quoted by state news agency Bernama, said the victim had links to a foreign intelligence organisation and was active in pro-Palestinian non-governmental organisations.

The suspects are believed to be Caucasians who also have ties to a foreign intelligence service, Mr Zahid told reporters.

Mr Batsh, who had lived in Malaysia for several years, was a lecturer in electrical engineering.

Hamas said one of its members had been "assassinated", describing him as a "martyr" - a term it usually uses for people killed by Israeli forces. However, it stopped short of directly accusing Israel of the killing.

Israel is believed to have assassinated members of militant groups abroad in the past.

In 1997, Mossad agents conducted a failed bid to kill Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Jordan by spraying poison into his ear.

The holiday village run by spies

The spy agency is also believed to have been behind the 2010 murder of top Hamas militant Mahmud al-Mabhuh, who died in a Dubai hotel.

Israel has never confirmed or denied involvement in his killing.

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