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Hamas claims to nab Palestinian who aided alleged 2018 Mossad hit in Malaysia

Hamas says unidentified suspect admitted to involvement in slaying of Fadi al-Batsh, an engineer who allegedly helped the terror group build weapons; father demands death penalty

A picture taken on April 21, 2018 shows men holding up a poster portrait of 35-year-old Palestinian professor and Hamas member Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh who was killed in Malaysia, outside his family's house in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza strip. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)
A picture taken on April 21, 2018 shows men holding up a poster portrait of 35-year-old Palestinian professor and Hamas member Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh who was killed in Malaysia, outside his family's house in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza strip. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

The Hamas terror group announced on Sunday that it had arrested a Gaza Palestinian who it alleged collaborated with the Israeli Mossad spy agency in the targeted killing of a Hamas weapons expert in Malaysia.

Fadi Mohammed al-Batsh, a Gaza-born electrical engineer and avowed Hamas member, was gunned down by two motorcyclists as he walked to dawn prayers in Kuala Lumpur in 2018, in a killing widely blamed on Israel.

“We arrested a person involved in the assassination of engineer Fadi al-Batsh in Malaysia. He admitted to participating in the assassination, which was commissioned by the Israeli Mossad,” the Hamas-run Gaza Interior Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The suspect has yet to be publicly identified by Hamas authorities. Al-Batsh’s father told Gaza media that he would demand the death penalty and ask that he be allowed to carry it out himself.

“I will request to do to him exactly what he did to my son,” Mohammad al-Batsh told the Hamas-linked Shehab news agency.

After al-Batsh was killed, the scientist’s family immediately blamed the Mossad for his death. Hamas officially claimed al-Batsh as a member posthumously. The armed wing of Hamas described al-Batsh as a member of the terror group’s military wing and “a commander.”

Israeli politician Avigdor Liberman, who was then serving as defense minister, denied Israeli involvement in the killing. But Liberman also said that al-Batsh was involved in designing Hamas’s missile systems.

“This man was no saint. It was not about improving the electrical grid or improving infrastructure and water… He was engaged in the production of rockets, in improving the accuracy of rockets,” Liberman told Army Radio at the time.

“Even if it wasn’t us, there’s no reason to shed a tear,” Liberman added.

Gunmen from the Hamas terror group’s Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades stand in front of the Jabaliya home of electrical engineer and Hamas commander Fadi al-Batsh, who was shot dead in Malaysia in a killing blamed on Israel, April 21, 2018. (Adel Hana/AP)

Israel has a long history of conducting targeted killings of its enemies, both in the West Bank and Gaza and abroad. In the mid-1990s, Israeli agents allegedly bungled an attempt to kill Hamas chief Khaled Mashal in Jordan, resulting in a diplomatic crisis.

The deadly attacks increased during the Second Intifada, when Israel allegedly assassinated hundreds of senior Palestinian terror group members in an effort to halt the wave of suicide attacks against Israelis.

In Dubai, in 2010, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a key Hamas missile purchaser and importer, was assassinated in his hotel room in a killing widely attributed to Mossad.

The Israeli security services formally disavow most operations. But former officials have extensively discussed the policy in public interviews.

The Mossad has been also accused of targeting those who develop advanced weapons on behalf of terror groups, including Iranian nuclear scientists.

Top Iranian nuclear researcher Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was allegedly assassinated in November 2020 in a sophisticated hit led by a Mossad team.

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