The Palestinian, identified as Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, was assassinated in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Two suspects had awaited the victim for some 20 minutes and then gunned him down, fleeing the scene on a motorcycle, according to local police.
“The suspect fired 10 shots, four of which hit the lecturer in the head and body. He died on the spot. The police also found two empty bullet shells there,” Kuala Lumpur Police chief Mazlan Lazim told reporters.
Al-Batsh, a 35-year-old lecturer with a private university, reportedly served as an imam at a local surau, a smaller Malaysian variant of a mosque. The police chief said the investigators would look into all possible theories on the events, including the potential involvement of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. While the identity of the perpetrators is still unknown, they are believed to be Caucasian, according to the Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“The lecturer, a permanent resident of this country, is believed to have become a liability for a country hostile to Palestine,” the official said, suggesting that foreign intelligence might have been involved in the murder.
“The police will conduct their investigation by covering all angles. We will investigate the case until the arrest of the perpetrators of the crime,” he added, stating that the country’s law enforcement will seek help from Interpol and Aseanapol to track down the suspects.
The family of al-Batsh squarely pinned the blame on the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. “We accuse Mossad of being behind the assassination,” the family, which lives in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip, said in a statement. Hamas itself has also pointed fingers at Israel, promising “to hold meetings with the Malaysian officials and follow up closely the details of the crime.” Neither family members nor Hamas provided any evidence to back up their claims.
The Islamist organization described al-Batsh as a “young Palestinian scholar,” specializing in the energy and electronics fields, who greatly contributed to “developing the Malaysian energy sector.” The slain lecturer was about to travel to Turkey to partake in a science conference, according to Hamas. Israeli media, however, reported that the Palestinian scientist was linked to the “drone and rocket” programs of Hamas. The organization neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.
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