An autopsy is underway on the body of a Palestinian lecturer and Hamas member, who was assassinated in Malaysia in what is believed to be another Israeli act of foul play targeting the Palestinian resistance movement.
Fadi al-Batsh was targeted by at least 10 shots fired at him by two bike-riding gunmen in the suburb of Gombak in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Police markers indicated 14 bullets had been sprayed at the victim, some of them hitting a wall.
The autopsy was being carried out on Sunday. Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim said, “We are investigating all angles. I have to investigate very carefully and deeply.”
The family of the Palestinian professor accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of killing him. In a statement from the Gaza Strip, his family said: “We accuse the Mossad of being behind the assassination.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also said Mossad had been behind past attempts to assassinate Palestinian scientists, and that al-Batsh’s killing “follows this sequence.”
Onlookers told Reuters that the attackers had “European features,” and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the suspects were believed to be European with links to a foreign intelligence agency.
“This is an international issue,” the police chief noted.
The 35-year-old expert in electrical engineering, who would lecture at University of Kuala Lumpur, had lived in Malaysia for the past 10 years. He is survived by his wife and three young children.
The victim could have been seen as “a liability for a country that is an enemy of Palestine,” Zahid also said, apparently referring to Israel.
Israel has assassinated many figures with the Palestinian group.
Last March, Tel Aviv assassinated Mazen Fuqaha, one of the group’s senior figures, in Gaza City. The victim was shot with four bullets to his head.
In 2010, Israel had itself embroiled in an international scandal when its operatives used false European and Australian passports to assassinate senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in the United Arab Emirates.
The killing and the circumstances surrounding it also raised suspicions of complicity by Emirati intelligence and other services in the assassination.
Israel in denial
Commenting on the assassination, Israeli minister for military affairs Avigdor Lieberman dismissed suggestions that al-Batsh had been killed by Mossad. He alleged that it was likely that the victim had been killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute.
“We heard about it in the news. The terrorist organizations blame every assassination on Israel – we’re used to that,” Lieberman told Israel Radio.
“We constantly see a settling of accounts between various factions in the terrorist organizations and I suppose that is what happened in this case,” he added.
Tel Aviv accuses Palestinian resistance outfits of waging “terrorism” due to their objection to the Israeli regime’s continued occupation of Palestinian lands and its persistent acts of atrocity against Palestinians.
The Israeli minister also claimed that al-Batsch specialized in rocket knowledge. “The man was no saint and he didn’t deal with improving infrastructure in Gaza – he was involved in improving rockets’ accuracy …,” he claimed.