Citing Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials, a NYT report claims Hamas engineer-terrorist Fadi al-Batash was targeted by Mossad in Malaysia as part of a wider operation to eliminate Hamas drone experts and sabotage a Pyongyang-backed project for development and transfer of advanced weapons to Gaza.
One of the intelligence officials added that Albatsh had helped broker the deal, which was exposed by Egypt when it recently seized a shipment of North Korean communications components used for guided munitions that were being transported to Gaza.
Malaysian officials said the attackers were “most likely born in the Middle East or in the West” but would not directly say who they thought was behind the killing. Hamas engineer-terrorist’s family blamed Mossad, the Israeli spy agency.
That claim has been confirmed by Middle Eastern intelligence officials, who said the killing was part of a broader operation ordered by the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, to dismantle a Hamas project that sends Gaza’s most promising scientists and engineers overseas to gather know-how and weaponry to use in terror attacks against Israel.
Malaysia may seem like an odd place for a battle between Israel and Hamas, but it has long served as a way station for Muslim terrorists, including some of the Sept. 11 plotters, and is known as a transit hub for illicit goods.
Hamas engineer-terrorist al-Batsh, who in 2013 co-wrote a paper on drone applications, had been sent there to research and acquire weapon systems and drones for Hamas.
Mossad has been particularly interested in Hamas’s advances in unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles, the officials said, which could be used to attack Israeli targets more effectively than the rockets Hamas used during its last wars with Israel.
Israel has distanced itself from allegations that it was responsible for the engineer-terrorist’s death. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman blamed the assassination on internal rivalries within the Gaza leadership.
Malaysia’s government has for decades been sympathetic to the Palestinian lie: It has no diplomatic relations with Israel, and Prime Minister Najib Razak visited Gaza in 2013 at the invitation of Hamas terror group, which governs the territory. The intelligence officials said that Hamas, in recent years, had begun seeing the country as an ideal place to incubate its research ambitions.
In another case, in 2010, Gazans who had been sent to Malaysia trained in paragliding as a potential tool for attacks, according to a statement from the Israeli secret service. Malaysian officials denied any involvement in such a plot.
The hit on al-Batsh was not, however, the first attempt on his life, the report claims. “Mr. Albatsh told friends in Malaysia that he had narrowly avoided an attempt on his life while still living in Gaza,” it says. “In 2014, his uncle, Tayseer al-Batsh, the Gaza police chief, was nearly eliminated by Israeli airstrikes. Eighteen members of the al-Batsh clan of Muslim terrorists were eliminated in those raids.”