Palestinian scholar killed in Kuala Lumpur, family blames Mossad

Kuala Lumpur

The family of a Palestinian professor and Hamas member accused IsraelĀ“s Mossad spy agency on Saturday of killing him on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. It called al-Batsh a "martyr" and said he was a "distinguished scientist who has widely contributed to the energy sector".

Two men on a motorcycle fired 10 shots at Mr Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer, in Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday, killing him on the spot, the city's police chief said.

Hamas has accused Israel of conducting assassinations of its experts overseas in the past, although Mossad has never confirmed such operations. "In fact, before this he had mentioned his worry that he would be attacked by Apache helicopter gunships back in Palestine, and mentioned that 18 members of his extended family had been killed in Gaza in 2009 alone".

Hamas has acknowledged that al-Batsh was a member of the organization's terrorist wing. When asked if there was evidence of foreign involvement in the killing, he said: "We are still investigating the motive. We have heard the announcements by the heads of the Hamas taking responsibility for the man, explaining the he was involved with the production of rockets, with improving the rockets' accuracy".

Gazans also flew dozens of kites near the border fence, in some cases carrying Molotov cocktails and one with a swastika painted on it, in a new tactic that sparked at least two small fires in Israeli territory this week.

He said Malaysian police would request the help of Interpol to track down the suspects, believed to be European nationals. "The post-mortem is ongoing now; we will give details later". No arrests have been made and the murder weapon has not been recovered, he said.

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".

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested on Sunday that the assassination at close range of Hamas engineer Fadi al-Batash in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, over the weekend may have been the result of a settling of accounts within the Islamist group.

Israeli forces have responded with live ammunition, wounding hundreds in addition to those killed.

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

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