Hamas Arrests Individual Connected to Engineer's 2018 Assassination in Malaysia

The group charged Israel's Mossad was behind the murder of Fadi al-Batsh, which a New York Times report alleged was part of a Mossad operation to take out Hamas scientists and engineers training abroad

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Members of Hamas military wing at memorial for engineer Fadi al-Batsh, who was killed in Malaysia, in Gaza in 2018.
Members of Hamas military wing at memorial for engineer Fadi al-Batsh, who was killed in Malaysia, in Gaza in 2018. Credit: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP

A suspect was arrested in connection to the 2018 assassination of Hamas engineer Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh in Malaysia allegedly on orders from the Mossad, the Gaza militant group's Interior Ministry announced Sunday.

The ministry issued a statement alleging that the suspect had confessed to carrying out the assassination by direct order of the Israeli intelligence organization, adding that they were arrested by security forces immediately upon arriving in the Strip. The identity of the suspect or other details about him have not been released.

Al-Batsh, an electrical engineer affiliated with Hamas, was shot dead on April 21, 2018, in Kuala Lumpur by two unidentified perpetrators who escaped on a high-powered motorcycle after firing at least 14 shots at al-Batsh outside a mosque he was attending, killing him on the spot.

A Kawasaki motorcycle was found abandoned near a lake about nine minutes from the scene, from which police were able to trace a photo of one of the suspects, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun told reporters. Authorities had originally released computer-generated photographs of the suspects, who witnesses described as well-built and light-skinned, possibly Middle Eastern or European.

The suspects were believed to have entered Malaysia sometime in late January, but it was not known what nationalities they were or where they had traveled from, said Fuzi.

Al-Batsh was reportedly involved in talks with North Korea on arms intended for Gaza, according to a New York Times report published in the aftermath of his murder

The report alleges that Al-Batsh was killed as part of a broader Mossad operation to take out Hamas scientists and engineers training abroad to gather "know-how and weaponry to fight Israel.

"That claim has been confirmed by Middle Eastern intelligence officials," the New York Times reported, claiming the broader operation was ordered by the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen.

The joint report by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman and Hannah Beech, the paper's Southeast Asia reporter, added that al-Batsh's negotiations with North Korea were carried out through Malaysia, citing Western and Middle Eastern intelligence sources.

Al-Batsh was a lecturer at Universiti Kuala Lumpur, specializing in power engineering, according to the university. According to the Hamas affiliated news agency SPA, Batsh also involved with Islamic organizations, including MyCARE. He had been living in Malaysia for the past few years, before which he lived in the northern Gaza Strip with his wife and three children.

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