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Malaysia: suspected killers of Palestinian scientist linked to foreign spy agency

April 23, 2018 3:08 P.M. (Updated: April 23, 2018 3:09 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Malaysia’s deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said suspects involved in the Saturday assassination of prominent Palestinian energy scholar and scientist are believed to be "foreign agents" with links to an international spy agency, according to Bernama, a state-run news agency.

Malaysia’s police chief Mazlam Lazim added: "We are investigating all angles. I have to investigate very carefully and deeply."

"This is an international issue," he said.

According to Malaysian authorities, 35-year-old Dr. Fadi al-Batsh was assassinated in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on his way to a mosque for dawn prayers. Police chief Lazim stated that Dr al-Batsh was shot dead by two helmeted assailants, who waited in front of a building in the Setapak district for almost twenty-minutes before firing at least ten bullets; four of which struck him in the body and head.

Police added that they are investigating all possible angles, including "terrorism." Authorities today released sketches of the two men they believe to be responsible for the assassination. According to officials, the men are "about 1.80 meters tall, with a relatively strong build, and most likely born in the Middle East, or in the West.'

Shortly after the killing, Fadi al-Batsh’s father, Muhammad levelled accusations against Israel’s spy agency: "There are accusations only against the Israeli Mossad and the Malaysian government should accelerate the investigation."

Muhammad Shedad, a relative of Fadi al-Batsh echoed his father’s sentiment, telling AFP reporters "it is definitely the work of Mossad. Fadi is a very clever person, anyone who is clever is a threat to Israel."

Israel has refuted these accusations, denying any involvement in the assassination.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Minister of Defense declared it was more likely al-Batsh was killed as the result of "an internal Palestinian dispute," adding that the Israeli government "heard about this on the news."

"There’s a tradition at this point among terrorist organizations of blaming Israel for every settling of accounts," Lieberman said, concluding that the researcher and scientist was a "rocket expert, and no saint."

Fadi al-Batsh was a former resident of the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, where his family intends to lay him to rest. In an interview with Army Radio, Lieberman stated that Israel will not allow it: "There is a set procedure. We aren’t letting the bodies of Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip," he said.

According to Anwar Al Agha, the Palestinian Authority’s ambassador to Malaysia, arrangements are being made with the Egyptian government for the transfer of al-Batsh’s body through Egypt, for a burial in Gaza.

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