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Malaysia: Slain Palestinian Engineer’s Body Taken to Gaza for Burial

Hadi Azmi and Hata Wahari
Kuala Lumpur
2018-04-25
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A boy in a crowd touches a van carrying the coffin of a slain Palestinian man, Fadi Al Batsh, in Kuala Lumpur, April 25, 2018.
A boy in a crowd touches a van carrying the coffin of a slain Palestinian man, Fadi Al Batsh, in Kuala Lumpur, April 25, 2018.
S. Mahfuz/BenarNews

The body of a Palestinian engineer gunned down in Kuala Lumpur was flown to Egypt late Wednesday for burial in Gaza, after a funeral procession in the Malaysian capital and Malaysia’s police chief released a photograph of one of the two alleged killers.

The family of Fadi Mohamad Al Batsh, 35, who was killed over the weekend, claimed his body from Selayang Hospital on Wednesday afternoon and took it to a mosque near his home. Hundreds of people marched through Kuala Lumpur as they trailed a van carrying Al Batsh’s coffin from the funeral home to a mosque, where about 500 mourners gathered for prayers.

“Dr. Fadi is a very kind person. He has been a teacher to everyone around him. He is a very optimistic person,” his widow, Enas, told BenarNews. “Even when I saw him at the morgue, he still has that optimistic look in his face. He has that positivity that spreads to everyone around him.”

After prayers, the family traveled with the coffin to Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where members boarded a flight to Egypt before heading to Gaza to bury Fadi. Enas said she planned to remain there after burying her husband.

Earlier on Wednesday, Malaysia’s police chief showed reporters a picture of one of the suspects that bore a striking resemblance to a computer-generated sketch released Monday. Investigators believed that the two suspects, who were on a motorbike when they allegedly shot and killed Fadi, were still in Malaysia, Police Inspector-General Mohamad Fuzi Harun told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

“He may change his look, shave his head or facial hair or wear a hat to cover his hair,” Mohamad Fuzi Harun said of the one suspect identified in a photograph.

Police also revealed that the suspects’ Kawasaki motorcycle was discovered in the neighborhood of Danau Kota, about nine minutes from the crime scene.

Fuzi said investigators believed the suspects had entered in Malaysia at the end of January.

“We suspect they used fake IDs to enter the country or while in the country,” he said.

Malaysian Police Inspector-General Mohamad Fuzi Harun shows the photograph of one of two suspects next to a computer-generated  sketch released days earlier, during a news conference at police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, April 25, 2018. [S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]
Malaysian Police Inspector-General Mohamad Fuzi Harun shows the photograph of one of two suspects next to a computer-generated sketch released days earlier, during a news conference at police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, April 25, 2018. [S. Mahfuz/BenarNews]

 

Widow speaks

Al Batsh, a father of three, had been in Malaysia for more than seven years and held Malaysian permanent resident status, officials said.

The University of Kuala Lumpur said Al Batsh was a senior lecturer and had joined its staff in 2016. He had a doctorate in electrical engineering and power electronics from the University of Malaya and received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from the Islamic University of Gaza, an independent school in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Enas, 31, described Al Batsh as a loving husband and father to their children – aged 1, 4 and 6 – during an interview late Tuesday with BenarNews.

She declined to answer questions about her husband’s alleged link with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, stressing instead the good things he did while living in Malaysia.

“When we opened the house for people to come and give their condolences, I noticed everyone has been coming – Muslims, non-Muslims of every nationality, they came here to pay tribute for Dr. Fadi,” she said.

“One neighbor, a Malaysian Chinese, told me that he treated her with respect, always asking her how she was doing, asking about her life. She said he had goodness and depth in his heart.”

Enas also said she would finish work on her doctorate in Islamic studies.

“It has been the wish of my husband for me to pursue my education because I waited for him to finish his studies, and he said it’s only fair that I get to pursue my own education,” Enas said, adding she decided to stay in Gaza after the funeral and was seeking options with the university to continue her studies online.

Hamas and Al Batsh’s relatives had accused Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, of having a hand in the killing, according to reports.

On Saturday, the day Al Batsh was slain, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told state news agency Bernama he suspected that a foreign intelligence agency was involved.

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said his country had “no reason to shed a tear” over Al Batsh’s killing, according to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. He said the killing may have been the result of militant organizations settling scores.

Following the slaying, Hamas did not disclose Al Batsh’s role in the militant group, but described him as a member.

Palestinians in Malaysia

MyCare, a non-governmental organization working with the Palestinian expatriate community, said more than 5,000 Palestinians are living in Malaysia.

They are there to seek a safe place to live and to help their families back home, Mohamad Abu Bakar, a lecturer in international and strategic studies at the University of Malaya, told BenarNews.

He said the global community was aware of Malaysia’s stand in providing aid in its humanitarian outreach to the Palestinian people.

Palestinians linked to Hamas have been in Malaysia, geopolitical analyst Azmi Hassan said.

“The Malaysian government has declared Hamas as a legit political party and, at the moment, it is Hamas that is governing Gaza. Because of that, the presence of Palestinians linked to Hamas whether for businesses, work or to further study are legal,” Azmi told BenarNews.

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation of 32 million people, has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.

In recent years, Malaysian officials have denied allegations by Israeli security services that Hamas operatives were training on Malaysian soil to carry out military operations against Israel.

Hareez Lee in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this report.

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