Malaysia on Tuesday publicly paraded around several suspects who were reportedly arrested for kidnapping a Hamas operative on behalf of the Mossad so that he could be interrogated by Israel.
However, the alleged agents, all local Malaysians, bungled the operation, enabling police to free their captive, reportedly bursting in as Israelis were questioning him via video call.
Footage broadcast on Malaysian news channels showed several men walking in a line to the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court, their hands manacled and eyes covered.
Local media reports said they are among at least 11 people who have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the kidnapping.
Malaysia’s Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said authorities will investigate the matter and take action if the Israeli spy agency is found to be behind the incident.
“We should look into matters like this,” and will announce further actions, he said, according to a report from the New Strait Times.
Sebelas individu termasuk seorang wanita didakwa di Mahkamah Majistret Kuala Lumpur atas pertuduhan menculik seorang lelaki warga Palestin bagi mendapatkan maklumat berkaitan perisian yang digunakan untuk menggodam telefon bimbit.
???? Diana Barka | Bernama pic.twitter.com/VlECq54rHn
— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) October 14, 2022
Malaysia, a majority-Muslim nation and strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, does not have any diplomatic relations with Israel.
The New Strait Times claims that authorities in Malaysia recently freed a Palestinian man who had allegedly been captured late last month by local Mossad operatives and was being interrogated near Kuala Lumpur for his supposed affiliation with the Hamas terror group and its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
On September 28, a team of four operatives abducted the Palestinian man, who is from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as he was getting into a vehicle with another Gazan man in the Malaysian capital. Both were said to be computer programming experts.
The second man, who according to Malaysian reports tried to help his friend, was warned to stay away as the operatives dragged their target to a waiting van. He then hurried to alert authorities of the incident, reportedly realizing that his companion was being snatched by the Mossad.
Citing a source with knowledge of the case, the New Strait Times reported the abducted man was beaten in the van and taken to a chalet in a secluded area of Kuala Langat district, southwest of the capital.
At the chalet, the Palestinian man was tied to a chair and made to face Israeli interrogators via video, who reportedly told him: “You know why you are here.”
The interrogation went on for about a day before Malaysian authorities raided the cabin and arrested the alleged operatives while taking the Palestinian abductee into custody.
Malaysian Police Inspector-General Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said that 11 people had already been charged last week in connection with the case.
According to the Malaysian report, the Palestinian man sustained multiple injuries during the alleged beatings by the operatives and has since left Malaysia along with the second Palestinian.
The Gaza Interior and National Security Ministry on Monday thanked Malaysian authorities for rescuing the Palestinian man, and denounced Mossad for the kidnapping.
“This has exposed the activities of Mossad members operating abroad and their larger network,” the ministry said, according to a New Strait Times report.
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.
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.”
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.
Earlier this year, Hamas said it arrested a Gaza Palestinian who it alleged collaborated with the Mossad in the targeted killing.