Malaysian police on Wednesday released a photograph of one of two suspects in the killing of a Hamas rocket and drone expert, saying they have yet to identify the pair, who may still be in the country.
Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed on Saturday in the country’s capital as he walked to a mosque for dawn prayers, according to Malaysian authorities. His family and the Hamas terror group have blamed the hit on Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Israel has denied the claim.
The photograph showed a light-skinned man with dark wavy hair, eyeglasses, and a goatee.
“We believe the suspects are still in the country,” said National police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun during a press conference at the Royal Malaysia Police headquarters.
Earlier in the week, Malaysian police issued facial composites of two suspects in the shooting and described the men as around 1.80 meters tall, well-built, with fair complexions, saying that they were believed to be of Middle Eastern or Western descent.
Harun said police did not yet know the nationalities of the suspects, or from where they arrived in Malaysia.
“We have yet to identify them, but we suspect that they used a fake identity either when entering the country or when they were here,” he said said and noted they were believed to have entered the country some time in January.
Harun said the killing was “professionally done” but declined to comment on the suggestion that it was carried out by Israeli agents.
Batsh was walking from his high-rise apartment to dawn prayers at a local mosque in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Gombak when he was shot by two gunmen riding motorcycles, officials said. Police said CCTV footage showed the suspects had waited for him for almost 20 minutes.
“It’s not going to be easy to track them down, as we believe they’re using a fake identity,” Harun admitted, according to a report from the Strait times. “They might have changed their appearance. The suspect in this photo probably has shaven his beard and head. This is why we really need help from the public.”
The photograph was released a day after police said they had found a motorbike allegedly used in the drive-by shooting.
Also on Tuesday, the Palestinian envoy to Malaysia said Batsh’s body will be flown to the Gaza Strip through Egypt within 24 hours. His family said the body would be flown to Egypt and enter the Palestinian enclave Wednesday at 2 p.m. through the Rafah crossing. His wife and three children would also be granted access, according to the claim.
Hebrew media reports have said Batsh was deeply involved in Hamas’s efforts to improve the accuracy of its rockets and to develop drones. The Gaza-born scientist had reportedly published material recently on drone development, and on transmitters for controlling drones.
Hamas on Saturday threatened retaliation against Israel for the killing of Batsh, who it identified as a commander in its military wing. Israeli reports said the dead man was an expert on attack drones and rocket systems.
The Mossad has been accused in the past of eliminating figures who supplied Palestinian and Lebanese terror groups with advanced technology, as well as of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists.
Agencies contributed to this report.