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
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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.


France bans Iran’s Mahan Air for flying arms, troops to Syria, elsewhere

Updated 25 March 2019
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France bans Iran’s Mahan Air for flying arms, troops to Syria, elsewhere

  • The ban will become effective starting April 1
  • The airlines were also banned by Germany since January

PARIS: France has banned flights in and out of the country by Iran’s Mahan Air, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones, diplomats said on Monday, after heavy US pressure on Paris to act.
The decision to revoke Mahan’s license to operate in France was made after Germany banned the airline in January.
Paris had considered revoking its license more than two years ago under the presidency of Francois Hollande, but had backed down because it feared it could harm relations just after a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was signed in 2015.
The United States imposed sanctions on Mahan Air in 2011, saying it provided financial and other support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and Washington has been pressing its European allies to follow suit.
“We knew of their activities from our own intelligence services and after the German move it was a question of credibility,” said a French diplomatic source.
The French ban on the airline, which had four flights a week to Paris from Tehran, takes effect from April 1. The airline’s website is no longer taking reservations and calls to its offices in Paris were not answered.
Tensions between Paris and Tehran have grown in recent months as President Emmanuel Macron and his government have become increasingly frustrated with Iran’s ballistic missile tests, regional activities and a foiled attack on an Iranian exile group in France, which Paris says Iranian intelligence was behind.
Both countries only reappointed ambassadors to each other’s capitals last month after more than six months without envoys.
There are no plans at this stage to ban another airline — Iran Air — said one diplomat.
Mahan Air, established in 1992 as Iran’s first private airline, has the country’s largest fleet of aircraft and has flights to a number of European countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Greece.
European countries have been under sustained US pressure to reimpose sanctions on Iran since President Donald Trump last year pulled Washington out of an international nuclear non-proliferation treaty reached with Tehran under his predecessor Barack Obama.
Along with Iran, the other signatories to the deal — Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — are still trying to keep it alive and set up in January a mechanism to allow trade with Tehran and circumvent US sanctions.