Israel denies role in killing Palestinian in Malaysia

Lieberman says Israel will not allow the burial of Palestinian lecturer in Gaza
JERUSALEM: Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday denied involvement in the killing of a Palestinian lecturer in Malaysia.
On Saturday, Fadi Mohammed al-Batsh, 35, was shot dead by two gunmen on a high-powered motorcade near his home in the capital Kuala Lumpur.
His family said that Israel’s spy agency Mossad was behind the killing.
In statements, Lieberman said Palestinian groups tend “to blame Israel for every setting of accounts”, and claimed that the Palestinian lecturer was “not a saint”.
“We have heard the announcements by the heads of the Hamas taking responsibility for the man, explaining he was involved with the production of rockets, with improving the rockets’ accuracy,” he said.
In a separate interview with Army Radio, Lieberman said Israel will not allow al-Batsh’s body to be buried in the Gaza Strip.
He, however, said Israel cannot prevent the body from being brought into the Palestinian territory through Egypt, which has shared border with Gaza.
Al-Batsh family earlier said it was working to transfer the lecturer’s body into Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.
Meanwhile, Israeli media hinted that Israel could be behind the assassination.
Israel Hayom newspaper said the killing of al-Batsh technically resembled the previous assassination of Fathi Shaqaqi, the co-founder and Secretary-General of Islamic Jihad group who was killed in Malta in 1995.
The newspaper cited the killing of Tunisian aviation engineer Mohamed al-Zawari in 2016, who was reportedly behind the drone program of Hamas.
On Saturday, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, confirmed that the lecturer was a group member.
Israel is widely believed to have killed numerous Palestinian resistance activists in the past, many of them overseas.
In 1997, Mossad agents tried — and failed — to kill Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal in Jordan by spraying poison into his ear.
Mossad is also believed to have been behind the assassination in 2010 of top Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel.
Israel has never confirmed or denied its involvement in Mabhuh’s murder.–AA

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