Murder of Hamas member in Malaysia grabs global attention

KUALA LUMPUR - The brutal slaying of Hamas member Dr Fadi Albatsh (pic) has grabbed global attention, especially in the Muslim world.

The 35-year-old Palestinian lecturer, who had been living in Malaysia with his wife and three children for 10 years, was shot dead in Setapak here by two assailants as he was on his way for subuh prayers at 6am on Satur-day.

The world media, including international wires as well as Palestinian and Israeli news outlets, picked up the news.

While many parties pointed to Israeli intelligence agency Mossad as being behind the assassination, theories abound about the hit, including Dr Fadi’s expertise in weapons and links to the Islamist organisation Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

News portals also quoted a family friend as claiming that Dr Fadi, who was active in several NGOs, was killed to stop aid to Palestine.

While Hamas has confirmed Dr Fadi as a member, Palestinian websites say he was related to a senior official of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Khaled Albatsh, who accused Mossad of carrying out the attack.

Dr Fadi’s father, too, told Al Jazeera that he believes Mossad to be behind his son’s killing.

He called on the Malaysian authorities to act swiftly and find the culprits.

Dr Fadi, who had permanent resident status in the country, received his doctorate from Universiti Malaya in 2015 and was a senior lecturer at the British Malaysian Institute.

His official biography states that his research interests include power converters, power qua­lity and renewable energy.

Israeli media repor­ted that he was also deeply involved in the Hamas drone development project.

Mossad, known for its meticulous clandestine operations against “enemies” of Israel, is said to have been responsible for the slayings of various Hamas members.

In January 2010, Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed by a team of assassins at a hotel room in Dubai.

In December 2016, Hamas-linked drone expert Mohammed Zawahri was shot dead in southern Tunisia.

According to a news portal, a woman claiming to be a Tunisian journalist who contacted Mohammed for an interview might have had ties to Mossad. The woman reportedly disappeared a day before the killing.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun told a press conference yesterday that police were awaiting the results of a post-mortem on Dr Fadi’s body which was sent to the Selayang Hospital.

“No arrests have been made and the murder weapon has not been recovered.

“We are still investigating all angles. We cannot confirm yet that the killers are European as claimed by some witnesses,” he said.