A Palestinian scientist shot dead in Malaysia was a rocket expert and “no saint,” Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman said, but dismissed suggestions by Hamas that Israel’s Mossad spy agency assassinated him.
Two men on a motorcycle fired 10 shots at Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer, in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, killing him on the spot, the city’s police chief Mazlan Lazim said.
Hamas, an Muslim militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, said one of its members had been assassinated in Malaysia.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Mossad had been behind past attempts to kill Palestinian scientists and the attack on Batsh “follows this sequence.”
Lieberman said it was likely that Batsh was killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute.
“We heard about it in the news. The terrorist organizations blame every assassination on Israel — we’re used to that,” Lieberman told Israel Radio.
“The man was no saint and he didn’t deal with improving infrastructure in Gaza — he was involved in improving rockets’ accuracy... We constantly see a settling of accounts between various factions in the terrorist organizations and I suppose that is what happened in this case.”
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the suspects in the killing, who fled the scene, were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency, state news agency Bernama reported.
He add that Batsh was active in Pro-Palestinian civil organizations, describing him as an expert in electrical engineering and rocket-building.
He could have been seen as “a liability for a country that is an enemy of Palestine,” Zahid was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Batsh’s uncle, Jamal al-Batsh, speaking to reporters in the Gaza Strip, said he believed Mossad was behind the killing, because “Israel knows Palestine will be liberated by scientists.”
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