Authorities in Malaysia reportedly freed a Palestinian man who had allegedly been captured late last month by local operatives of the Mossad and was being interrogated in Kuala Lumpur for his alleged affiliation with the Hamas terror group and its armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
According to unverified reports by Al Jazeera Arabic and Malaysia’s New Straits Times, Malaysian operatives recruited by the Israeli spy agency and trained in Europe had abducted a Palestinian man from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in the Malaysian capital on September 28 as he was getting into a vehicle with another Gazan man. 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 car. He hurried to alert authorities of the incident.
The New Straits Times reported that the abducted Palestinian was taken to a cabin about an hour from Kuala Lumpur and tied to a chair to face intelligence agents, believed to be Israeli, via video conference. “You know why you are here,” they reportedly told the Palestinian man.
A source “with knowledge of the case” told the Malaysian news site that “the Israelis wanted to know about his experience in computer application development, Hamas’ strength in developing software, members of the Al-Qassam Brigade that he knew and their strengths.”
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.
According to the Malaysian report, the Palestinian man sustained multiple injuries during the alleged beatings by the operatives and has since left Malaysia.
In 2018, Gaza-born electrical engineer and avowed Hamas member Fadi Mohammed al-Batsh 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.”
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.
Earlier this year, Hamas said it arrested a Gaza Palestinian who it alleged collaborated with the Mossad in the targeted killing.
Aaron Boxerman contributed to this report.