Hamas says man gunned down in Malaysia was important member

A Palestinian man was gunned down in Malaysia. (AP)
Updated 21 April 2018
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Hamas says man gunned down in Malaysia was important member

GAZA CITY, Gaza: Gaza's ruling Hamas militant group said Saturday that a man who was gunned down in Malaysia was an important member of the organization, raising suspicions that Israel was behind the brazen killing.
Hamas said Palestinian engineer Fadi al-Batsh was a "loyal" member and a "scientist of Palestine's youth scholars." It gave no further details on his scientific accomplishments but said he had made "important contributions" and participated in international forums in the field of energy.
Hamas stopped short of blaming Israel, saying only that he had been "assassinated by the hand of treachery." But relatives of al-Batsh said they believe Israel targeted him.
Malaysian police say the 36-year-old al-Batsh was gunned down early Saturday by two assailants who shot at least eight bullets from a motorbike as he was heading to a mosque for dawn prayers in Kuala Lampur. It said closed-circuit television showed him targeted by assassins who had waited for him for almost 20 minutes.
Besides his Hamas affiliation, al-Batsh was a cousin of Khaled al-Batsh, a senior official in the Islamic Jihad militant group, who accused the Israeli Mossad spy agency of the assassination, without providing evidence.
The Israeli government had no comment. But Israel has a long history of targeting wanted Palestinian militants in daring overseas operations around the globe.
Al-Batsh specialized in electrical and electronic engineering and worked at a Malaysian university. He had lived there with his family for the past eight years and was an imam at a local mosque.
He received his Ph.D degree from the University of Malaya in 2015 and was a senior lecturer at the British Malaysian Institute. His official biography said his research interests included power converters, power quality and renewable energy.
However, Israeli media reported that he was also deeply involved in the Hamas drone development project.
Israel and Hamas are bitter foes who have fought three wars since 2008. Tensions have risen in recent weeks with a series of mass protests along the Gaza border in which 32 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli troops since late March.
Hamas says the protests are aimed at breaking a crippling border blockade that was imposed by Israel and Egypt after the Islamic militant group overran Gaza in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections. It says it also aims to assert the right of refugees to return to their former homes in Israel.
Israel accuses Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction and has carried out dozens of deadly suicide bombings against it, of cynically exploiting Gaza civilians for its political aims by staging the protests and trying to carry out attacks under their cover. Despite accusations of using lethal force against unarmed protesters, Israel says it is only targeting instigators who are trying to damage the border fence with explosives, firebombs and other means.
Protests are aiming to culminate in a large border march on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel founding. The date is mourned by Palestinians as their "nakba,"or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were uprooted in the 1948 Mideast war over Israel's creation.


New Qatari funds for Hamas employees expected this week: official

Updated 25 min 7 sec ago
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New Qatari funds for Hamas employees expected this week: official

  • The $15 million funds are expected to reach Gaza in the upcoming few days and be distributed immediately
  • The funds will cover salaries of around 40,000 Hamas civil servants

GAZA CITY: A fresh tranche of Qatari funds for Hamas civil servants in Gaza will be delivered via Israel this week, the Qatar ambassador to the Palestinian enclave said Monday.
Mohammed Al-Emadi is expected to bring the $15 million into the strip in the coming days, with funds to be distributed immediately.
“We are due to go to Gaza before the end of the week, most likely on Wednesday night,” Emadi told AFP by message from Doha. “We will pay the third payment,” he added, referring to two payments in previous months.
The funds pay the salaries of roughly 40,000 Hamas civil servants, as well as providing financial assistance to poor families in the empoverished strip.
They are injected with Israeli blessings after an informal truce deal between the Jewish state and the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
Under the deal months of Hamas-backed protests along the border remain relatively quiet.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has faced right-wing criticism of the agreement, with his defense minister resigning in November accusing him of being soft on Hamas.
Separately Monday the World Health Organization warned it was “concerned” over the impact of critical fuel shortages in Gaza.
The strip suffers from chronic energy shortages, though the crisis had been eased in recent months with Qatar also allowed to import fuel to run Gaza’s sole power plant.
“The functionality of Gaza’s 14 public hospitals is increasingly jeopardized by electricity shortages,” the WHO said in a statement.
“Several of the most severely impacted hospitals have already put rationalization measures in place.
“Drastic service reductions, including closures of wards and hospitals, are imminent,” it added, saying hospitals had fuel reserves for only a few more days.