Palestinian embassy denies involvement in scholar’s assassination

Palestinian embassy in Malaysia dismisses ‘baseless’ letter which detailed role in killing of Fadi al-Batsh last April.

Fadi al-Batsh
Hamas' honour guard carried the coffin of Fadi al-Batsh after it was delivered to the Gaza Strip [Khalil Hamra/The Associated Press]

The Palestinian embassy in Malaysia denies allegations of the involvement of members of its intelligence service in the assassination of Palestinian scholar Fadi al-Batsh in Kuala Lumpur last month.

Al-Batsh, 35, was shot by two attackers as he was heading to a mosque for dawn prayers in the Setapak district of the capital, police said.

In a press statement released on Sunday, the embassy blamed “suspicious entities” who “forged a letter” using the ambassador’s name and sending it to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“The embassy confirms that all of the information included in the letter is fake and baseless, and has no knowledge of it,” the statement read.

Palestinian activists had previously shared a letter on social media which Al Jazeera could not independently verify, written by Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Anwar al-Agha to Abbas.

The letter detailed the alleged interactions of Ahmad Buheis, the head of the Palestinian intelligence branch in Malaysia, with an adviser to the head of PA intelligence in Ramallah, General Bahaa Baalousha.

Baalousha had allegedly asked Buheis back in February to gather information on al-Batsh, who was a member of Hamas, such as his address, the type of car he owned and places he frequented.

The letter went on to say that a month later, Baalousha contacted Buheis again and told him to make arrangements for two men and their wives who were coming to the Malaysian capital from Ramallah for a two-week holiday.

However, the two men (who had reached Malaysia with only one of the wives) left days after arriving on April 2, a couple of weeks before the assassination of al-Batsh.

The letter goes on to say that Buheis’ contact in the Malaysian security force had reached out to him saying there was CCTV footage of a woman who looked like the wife of one of the men, walking in a “suspicious manner” in the area where al-Batsh was later assassinated.

Furthermore, the letter says that Buheis had forwarded a photograph he had taken with the two men to a colleague in Ramallah, and found out they had used fake names and worked in the same department as Baalousha.

The embassy’s statement called on people to “take extreme caution from these suspicious entities who are engaging in sabotage and attempts to create sedition.”

“These failed attempts will not discourage embassy staff from continuing to do their job to achieve national interests,” the statement said, asserting that they retain their legal right to pursue those “entities”.

The embassy also said with the help of embassy staff, an operating room has been formed to follow up on the assassination process with the concerned Malaysian authorities.

Al-Batsh’s father had previously told Al Jazeera that he accuses Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, of being behind his son’s killing and also called on the Malaysian authorities to look into who carried out the “assassination” as soon as possible.

Malaysian police had released computer-generated images of the two suspects, believed to be from Europe or the Middle East.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.

Source: Al Jazeera