NYT report claims assassinated Gaza engineer had ties with North Korea

Hugh Fox
April 27, 2018

Israeli officials claimed Murtaja was a paid member of Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza, but offered no evidence to support their allegations.

Although Malaysia might seem like an odd place for a battle between Israel and Hamas, the influential USA newspaper said Malaysia had "long served as a way station for extremists, including some of the Sept 11 plotters, and is known as a transit hub for illicit goods".

The Times also cited a United Nations report claiming that Pyongyang had established shell companies to circumvent global sanctions allowing it to conduct sales of "military-grade communication systems" through Kuala Lumpur.

Fadi al-Batsh, a 35 year old Palestinian academic was shot dead by two gunmen riding a motorcycle while he was heading to mosque in the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Gombak for dawn prayers on Saturday.

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Malaysian officials declined to comment on claims that Batash had been researching or trying to buy weapons systems, the New York Times said.

Hamas identified him as a commander in its military wing and quickly accused Israel's Mossad spy agency of being behind the hit.

Since March 30, Palestinians have been staging rallies along Gaza border demanding the return of refugees to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

Malaysian police yesterday released a photo of one of the two alleged assailants who gunned down a Palestinian engineer over the weekend, and said they are believed to still be in the country.

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Another depicts a person sprinting from what looks like a construction site and then speeding off in a black sport utility vehicle.

Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had appealed to Egypt to refuse the Palestinian request.

Authorities had originally released computer-generated photographs of the suspects, who witnesses described as well-built and light-skinned, possibly Middle Eastern or European.

He reportedly said that "every mind that has knowledge, expertise and experience is the target of an assassination, or any mind in the world that could someday be part of our nation, they [Israel] pursue the Arab scientist and academic - from Iran to Tunisia, and Malaysia".

Israel denied the accusations.

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