Palestinian Academic ‘killed by Mossad’ in Malaysia, says family

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Fadi Al-Batesh. (Photo courtesy: social media)
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Malaysian forensic police cordon off the area where a Palestinian scientist was assassinated in Kuala Lumpur on April 21, 2018. (AFP)
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Palestinians gather in mourning outside the family home of 35-year-old professor and Hamas member Fadi Mohammad Al-Batsh, who was killed early in the day in Malaysia, in Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip on April 21, 2018. (AFP)
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Police says the assassins fired 14 bullets before they killed Fadi Al-Batash. (AN photo)
Updated 21 April 2018

Palestinian Academic ‘killed by Mossad’ in Malaysia, says family

  • Fadi Mohammed Al-Batsh was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle outside a mosque in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
  • Al-Batash had been living in Malaysia since 2012 and was teaching at the Universiti Kuala Lumpur British-Malaysian Institute.

Kuala Lumpur: A Palestinian academic from Gaza was shot dead by two unidentified assailants on a motorbike early on Saturday morning.
Fadi Al-Batsh, 35, was on his way to the neighboring mosque at 6am when he was gunned down outside of the condominium he lived in, according to Datuk Mazlan Lazim, Kuala Lumpur police chief.
He said that the two attackers had waited for Al-Batsh in front of a residential building in the Setapak district of the Malaysian capital for almost 20 minutes and fired at least 10 bullets, killing him instantly.
Al-Batsh’s family said they suspected that Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, was behind his murder.
Anwar Al-Agha, Palestine’s ambassador to Malaysia, later identified the victim, an engineering lecturer, but declined to say if he was a member of Hamas.
Hamas, which exercises de facto control over Gaza, said one of its members was “assassinated” in Malaysia but stopped short of accusing Israel’s secret service of carrying out the killing.
Batsh’s uncle, Jamal Al-Batsh, speaking to Reuters in the Gaza Strip, said he believed the killing was the work of Mossad. When asked who he blamed, he replied: “The Israeli Mossad. The Israeli Mossad stood behind the assassination of educated people and intellectuals because Israel knows Palestine will be liberated by scientists.”
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, said the government was looking into the possibility of the involvement of “foreign agents” in the killing, AP reported. He told local media that initial investigations showed that the assailants in Saturday morning’s attack were “white men” driving a powerful BMW 1100cc motorbike.
“His killing could have some links with foreign intelligence agencies or he may also be considered a liability to nations friendly to Palestine,” Hamidi was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times English-language daily.
The murder sent shockwaves across the peaceful neighborhood where he lived and where most residents are from Africa and the Middle East. Bashir Abei, 34, a student, said that Al-Batash was a respectable Imam. “I’ve been living here for five years. This is the first time such a case ever happened here,” he said.
Al-Batash had been living in Malaysia since 2012 and was teaching at the Universiti Kuala Lumpur British-Malaysian Institute. He obtained his undergraduate and masters degrees in Gaza before continuing his PhD at Malaya University (UM) under a Khazanah Foundation scholarship program run by the Malaysian government. He also received the foundation’s high-achiever award from Najib Razak, Malaysian prime minister, for his research work.
Kamarul Zaman Shaharul Anwar, head of Humanitarian Care Malaysia and a friend of Al-Batash, said that he was a good family man with three children and an exceptionally intelligent man who had served as an imam in the neighborhood’s nearby mosque for the past five years.
“I believe the murder happened because of his expertise as a PhD in electrical engineering,” he said.
Ahmad Shehaz, 28, a student and close friend of Al-Batash, also shared Kamarul’s sentiment. “There are more than 5,000 Palestinians and undergraduates and postgraduates (in Malaysia). Why did they choose to kill Fadi?” he said.
Datuk Nur Jazlan, Malaysian deputy home minister, told Arab News the Malaysian police were still investigating the case and did not elaborate further.

Spain rescues over 500 migrants in Mediterranean

Updated 27 May 2018

Spain rescues over 500 migrants in Mediterranean

  • Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has rescued 500 migrants attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea this weekend
  • Spanish boats rescued almost 300 migrants from nine boats and a further 250 migrants were rescued from eight boats a day later

BARCELONA: Spanish authorities rescued over 500 migrants this weekend from more than a dozen boats making the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.

Following plane and helicopter searches, Spanish boats rescued almost 300 migrants from nine boats on Saturday, authorities said.

As of Sunday afternoon, a further 250 migrants were rescued from eight boats, three of which were in poor condition and later sank, they added.

The migrants were from various countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa.

The number of people crossing into Spain by sea from North Africa, either via the Strait of Gibraltar or the Sea of Alboran, has increased significantly in recent years while arrivals to Italy and Greece via Libya have dropped.

Around 19,000 people made the sea crossing in 2017, representing a 182 percent increase on the previous year.

Europe’s border agency Frontex said in January that it expected a further increase in irregular immigration to Spain this year, with flows boosted by the use of fast boats.

An Italian coast guard official said on Sunday more than 1,800 migrants attempting to cross from Libya to Italy were rescued over the past three days, following an improvement in the weather.