April 21 (UPI) — Hamas announced one of its members, a Palestinian engineer, was assassinated Saturday morning at the entrance to a mosque in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
Hamas didn’t disclose the role of Fadi al-Batash, 35, in the organization but said he was a researcher in “the field of energy.”
Kuala Lumpur City Police Chief Mazlan Lazim said the incident is being investigated.
Hamas didn’t blame Israel for the killing although it has accused Israel of assassinating its members multiple times while in power in Gaza.
But al-Batash’s family accused Israel’s foreign intelligence service, Mossad, of the assassination.
Haaretz reported the family said that Batash, who is married and has three children, planned to fly to Turkey on Sunday for a science conference on energy.
News agency SPA, which is affiliated with Hamas, said Batash was a former resident of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip but worked in Malaysia in the past years as a lecturer at a private university and was the imam of a mosque in the city.
On Friday, Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz warned Hamas that Israel would assassinate Hamas officials if the group or other militants in Gaza threaten Israeli commanders working on the strip’s border with Israel.
“Hamas must know that any attack on [Israeli army] commanders at the border to Gaza will immediately lead to a renewal of targeted killings of the Hamas leadership,” Katz, who is also transportation minister, posted on Twitter.
On Saturday, his spokesman said he was referring to killings only in Gaza.
Four Palestinians were killed by Israeli Defense Forces troops Friday, including 15-year-old Palestinian teen Mohammed Ayoub
“We saw that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, which made the maximum effort to avoid hurting innocents,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Saturday. “I once again tell the residents of Gaza, a secret for living long: Don’t go near the fence.”
Lieberman said Hamas leaders are to blame for Ayoub’s death on Gaza border Friday are Hamas leaders.
“It’s those cowardly leaders who hide behind women and children and send them to the front as human shields, so they could keep digging tunnels and carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel,” Lieberman said. “We already know from past experience the use of UNRWA facilities, hospitals and mosque for terrorism.”
On Saturday, the European Union urged “a full investigation” into the death of Ayoub and three other Palestinians.
Last month, Palestinians began protesting lat the fence separating Gaza from Israeli territory. They want refugees to be able to return to what is now Israel.
At least 32 Palestinians have been killed in the clashes over the past four weeks and 1,600 others wounded by live fire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry