The two men suspected of gunning down Hamas engineer Fadi al-Batsh in Kuala Lumpur were still in the country, Malaysian police said on Wednesday, as they released a fresh image of one of the men. Hamas has accused Israel of the assassination.
Two men on a high-powered motorcycle fired at least 14 shots at Batsh, an engineering lecturer, outside his apartment building on Saturday, 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.
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 Mohamad Fuzi.
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“We believe the suspects are still in the country,” he said.
“We have yet to identify them, but we suspect that they used fake identification either when entering the country or when they were here.”
Authorities had originally released computer-generated photographs of the suspects, who witnesses described as well-built and light-skinned, possibly Middle Eastern or European.
A new photo of one of the suspects shows a light-skinned man with dark, wavy hair and a prominent goatee.
Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Saturday the suspects were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency.
Hamas have accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of assassinating Batsh, who they say was a member of their group.
Speaking on Israeli radio on Sunday, Defense Ministry Avigdor Lieberman said of the allegations: "We heard about this on the news. There’s a tradition at this point among terrorist organizations of blaming Israel for every settling of accounts.”
Mohamad Fuzi said the killing appeared “very professionally done”, but declined to comment on reports it was a Mossad operation or that it was carried out by trained assassins.
Batsh was a lecturer at Universiti Kuala Lumpur, specializing in power engineering, according to the university. His funeral ceremony is currently taking place in Selayang, on the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur.
Batsh’s body will be returned to Gaza via Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday evening, after the funeral procession in Kuala Lumpur, Palestine’s ambassador to Malaysia Anwar Al Agha told Reuters.
Mossad has been accused of several high-profile killings involving Palestinians around the world, although Israel has consistently denied the accusations.