Mourners at sendoff for Hamas rocket expert’s body call for revenge

Assassinated scientist Fadi al-Batsh due to be buried in Gaza later Wednesday

The body of an assassinated Palestinian scientist was driven Wednesday through the Malaysian capital accompanied by a crowd shouting for revenge, as mourners accused Israel of killing him.

Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, a member of the Islamist terror group Hamas said to be a rocket-making expert, was shot by motorbike-riding attackers Saturday as he walked from his Kuala Lumpur home to a mosque for dawn prayers.

Family and friends of the 35-year-old, along with Hamas, have accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of carrying out the killing, but Israel has denied the claim.

Hundreds of mourners marched through the capital under Palestinian flags accompanying a van holding the body. They carried placards showing the victim’s face and chanted, “God is greatest.”

The Hamas-affiliated Palestinian Information Center reported that the crowd also chanted, “Al-Qassam Brigades, make the criminals pay!” in reference to the military wing of the organization.

The coffin of Palestinian Fadi al-Batsh is seen in a hearse out of a hospital’s morgue in Selayang, on the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 25, 2018 (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Batsh’s body was taken to a mosque, where prayers for the dead were performed before about 500 mourners.

“Every Palestinian who has heard of this assassination is saddened and shocked,” Muslim Imran, chairman of the Palestinian Cultural Organisation of Malaysia, told the crowd.

“This crime, I believe, is another reflection of the nature of the Israeli occupation,” he said. “They carry out crimes, massacres, not only in Palestine but also in the rest of the world.”

Batsh’s corpse is set to be flown to Egypt later in the day before being transported on to Gaza for burial.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had said Israel was asking the Egyptian government not to allow Batsh’s body to be returned to his family in the Gaza Strip until Hamas returns to Israel the bodies of two IDF soldiers, as well as two mentally ill Israeli citizens.

The bodies of the two soldiers — Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul — are currently being held by Hamas, along with two Israeli civilians, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, who entered Gaza of their own volition in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Malaysian police on Wednesday released a photograph of one of two suspects in the killing of the Hamas rocket and drone expert, saying they have yet to identify the pair, who may still be in the country.

An image shows a suspect of killing of a Palestinian member of Hamas released by Royal Malaysia Police during a press conference at police headquarter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 25, 2018. (Royal Malaysia Police via AP)

The men were believed to have entered Malaysia in January but their nationalities were still not known, police said.

The motorbike they were allegedly riding was found abandoned Tuesday not far from where the assassination took place.

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.

Batsh’s expertise in making weapons could have made him a target — terrorists in Hamas-ruled Gaza regularly fire rockets at southern Israel. The Gaza-born scientist had reportedly published material recently on drone development, and on transmitters for controlling drones.

But Liberman denied claims of the Jewish state’s involvement, suggesting instead that it was a “settling of accounts” between factions of a terror group.

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