A Palestinian scholar has been shot dead by two assailants in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, as he was heading to a mosque for dawn prayers, according to local police.
Fadi al-Batsh, a 35-year-old Palestinian academic and member of Hamas, was instantly killed by the unknown attackers in a residential neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Al-Batsh’s father told Al Jazeera that he accuses Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, of being behind his son’s killing and called on the Malaysian authorities to look into who carried out the “assassination” as soon as possible.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, said the suspects were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency, according to state news agency Bernama.
According to police chief Datuk Seri Mansor Lazim, the two attackers had waited for al-Batsh in front of a residential building in Setapak district for almost 20 minutes, and fired at least 10 bullets, four of which instantly killed him.
Al-Batsh was shot in the “body and head”, the police said, adding that they are investigating all angles including “terrorism”.
Hazem Qassem, spokesperson for Hamas, the governing party in the Gaza Strip, confirmed to Al Jazeera that al-Batsh was a member of the movement.
In a statement on Twitter, Hamas described al-Batsh as a “young Palestinian scholar” from Jabalia in the Gaza Strip. It called al-Batsh a “martyr” and said he was a “distinguished scientist who has widely contributed to the energy sector”.
مجهولون يغتالون الأكاديمي الفلسطيني والمحاضر الجامعي د. فادي محمد البطش من جباليا شمال قطاع غزة، أثناء توجهه لأداء صلاة الفجر في مدينة "جومباك" شمال العاصمة الماليزية كوالالمبور pic.twitter.com/MfjW6ZdRHH
— قناة الأقصى الفضائية (@AqsaTVChannel) April 21, 2018
Palestinian websites identified al-Batsh as a relative of a senior official in the Gaza branch of the Islamic Jihad movement.
Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Anwar H al-Agha was quoted by the New Straits Times newspaper as saying the victim was a second imam at his mosque.
He had been reportedly living in Malaysia for 10 years.
Agha said Imam Fadi was supposed to have left for a conference in Turkey on Saturday. He was survived by his wife and three children.
In December 2016, Palestinian drone expert Mohamed al-Zawari, was shot dead in Tunisia, with Hamas accusing Israel of killing him.
Israel is widely believed to have killed numerous Palestinian activists in the past, many of them overseas.