Global News

Gunmen shoot dead Palestinian lecturer in Malaysia

Gunmen shoot dead Palestinian lecturer in Malaysia

The local police chief in Malaysia stated that other people were at the scene, but that the killers focused exclusively on al-Batash, leading them to suspect it was a targeted assassination.

An autopsy was being carried out in Malaysia on Sunday on the body of Palestinian professor and electrical engineer Dr. Fadi al-Batsh after he was gunned down in Kuala Lumpur in what Hamas and Islamic Jihad have claimed to be an assassination by Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Hamas initially stopped short of blaming Israel, saying only that he had been "assassinated by the hand of treachery".

U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt put out his own tweet: "A full investigation by Israel of Mohammed Ayoub's death is underway so that we will be able to understand what happened".

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".

His death brought to 35 the number of Palestinians killed since border clashes intensified on March 30 in an ongoing protest known as "The Great March of Return" - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel.

However, its top leader later accused the Mossad of killing him and threatened retaliation.

Onlookers told Reuters that the attackers had "European features", and Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the suspects were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency.

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Police markers indicated 14 bullets had been sprayed at the victim, some of them hitting a wall.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the long-stalled peace process between the two countries, said on Twitter Friday that the 15-year-old's death is "outrageous". Speaking Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that the elimination was probably the result of internal rivalry in Hamas.

It was not clear what the possible motive was, and so far no arrests has been made, he added. "So (Israel) think he is risky". He is survived by his wife and three young children.

The Mossad is believed to have assassinated Palestinian militants and scientists in the past, but rarely confirms such operations. He had lived in Malaysia for the past 10 years.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh hinted that Hamas will internationalize its terror campaign against Israel following the assassination of a Hamas drone expert in Malaysia.

Iran has accused Mossad and the Central Intelligence Agency of ordering the killings.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks with a series of mass protests along the Gaza border in which 32 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops since late March.

Four Palestinians, including a teenage boy and a disabled man, were killed Friday as Israeli soldiers opened fire across a fence dividing Israel and the blockaded Gaza Strip, officials said.


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