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Crime

Israel denies Palestinian professor’s killing in Kuala Lumpur was Mossad hit

Malaysian authorities are carrying out an autopsy on the man, who is said to be linked to Hamas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 April, 2018, 9:19pm

An autopsy was being carried out Sunday on the body of a Palestinian professor who was gunned down in what his family claim was an assassination by Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

Israel’s defence minister said the man was a rocket expert and “no saint”, but dismissed suggestions Israel spies killed him.

Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Saturday, according to Malaysian authorities.

He was walking from his high-rise flat to dawn prayers at a local mosque in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Gombak when he was shot by two gunmen riding a motorcycle.

At the crime scene, police markers indicated 14 bullets had been sprayed at the victim, some of them hitting a wall. An iron grill hit by a bullet was dented.

Robert Anthony, 56, a security guard at a Chinese primary school near the scene, said he heard the shots ring out but assumed they were “firecrackers”.

Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was quoted by the state-run Bernama news agency as saying Batsh was “an electrical engineer and an expert at making rockets”.

Batsh was a lecturer at Universiti Kuala Lumpur, specialising in power engineering, according to the university.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim said the investigation was ongoing.

“We are investigating all angles. I have to investigate very carefully and deeply. This is an international issue,” Mazlan said on Sunday.

He said the autopsy was being carried out at a hospital after which the body would be released to the family.

In a statement from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, the victim’s family said: “We accuse the Mossad of being behind the assassination.”

Batsh’s uncle Jamal al-Batsh, said he believed Mossad was behind the killing because “Israel knows Palestine will be liberated by scientists”.

Hamas acknowledged Batsh was one of its members.

Mohammad Shedad, 17, a student and a relative of the victim, also blamed Mossad for the killing.

“It is definitely the work of Mossad. Fadi is a very clever person, anyone who is clever is a threat to Israel,” he said outside the victim’s Malaysian home. “Fadi is a Hamas member and knows how to make rockets. So [Israelis] think he is dangerous.”

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was likely that Batsh was killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute.

“We heard about it in the news. The terrorist organisations blame every assassination on Israel – we’re used to that,” Lieberman told Israel Radio. “The man was no saint and he didn’t deal with improving infrastructure in Gaza – he was involved in improving rockets’ accuracy … We constantly see a settling of accounts between various factions in the terrorist organisations and I suppose that is what happened in this case.”

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the suspects in the killing, who fled the scene, were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency, state news agency Bernama reported.

Zahid said Batsh was active in pro-Palestinian non-governmental organisations and could have been seen as “a liability for a country that is an enemy of Palestine”.