Slain engineer blames 'Zionist occupation' for Gaza 'siege'
Electrical engineer assassinated in Malaysia was imam of mosque where he was shot, explained to member of congregation 'siege' on Gaza by 'Zionist occupation' was Gazans' problem; slain engineer's CV shows proficiency in field possibly relating to installing transmitters on drones; Hamas confirms deceased's affiliation with terror group, Ismail Haniyeh vows revenge for 'disgraceful, terrible crime.'
Albatsh was not only a cleric, however, but also considered outstanding in his field of electrical engineering and served as a lecturer at Kuala Lumpur University's British-Malaysian Institute.
The slain engineer's father pointed a finger in blame at Israel for the killing, saying, "The Mossad is responsible for my son's assassination. I demand Malaysian authorities open an investigation into the matter."
In the video, located by the Intelli Times blog's Ronen Salomon, Albatsh was shown at his mosque speaking about the Israeli control over the Gaza Strip, as well as on the need for further Malaysian assistance for the strip's denizens.
The countries providing such assistance for Gazans, Albatsh was heard saying, were Malaysia, Turkey, Qatar and Tunisia. "The main supply of everything in Gaza—water, fuel, gas, electricity—is controlled by the Zionist occupation," the cleric said.
"The problem is the siege and blockade by the Zionist occupation, which means that the main supply—the gate surrounding Gaza—is actually owned by the Zionist occupation. That's why the people are suffering, because we don't have enough supplies to cover the demand of the people in Gaza," he explained.
Albatsh then went on to say, "Thank God, Malaysians are actually very active in supporting the Palestinians. There are some NGOs (that) are running many projects in diverse aspects, like for example education, building destroyed houses, supplying food to poor families and many other relief projects."
Examining Albatsh's résumé, two projects on which he worked stand out as possibly having to do with controlling motors and transmitters that may be installed onboard drones or other unmanned aerial vehicles—the fields of "DC motor control" and "built FM receiver circuit."
The expat Palestinian may have assisted Hamas with its drone enterprise in Gaza by specializing in the aforementioned fields. Hamas engineer Mohammad a-Zawahri, who was assassinated in Tunisia in late 2016, also helped the Gaza terror group improve its UAV capabilities.
Later Saturday, Hamas's military wing confirmed that the Palestinian engineer and lecturer shot dead in Malaysia was one of its commanders.
Hamas said Palestinian engineer Fadi al-Batsh was a "loyal" member and a "scientist of Palestine's youth scholars." It gave no further details on his scientific accomplishments but said he had made "important contributions" and participated in international forums in the field of energy.
The funeral service by the Islamic movement's militant wing, though, suggested al-Batsh was actually one of its military commanders. At a mourning house in the Gaza Strip, a banner described al-Batsh as a member of the military wing.
A mourning house in Gaza for Albatsh was then opened by the terror group, with a main banner at the entrance to the tent describing Albatsh as a member of the military wing and "a commander."
Ten masked terrorists in camouflage uniforms stood in a line outside the tent in Jabalia, the slain man's hometown, to greet mourners. The ceremony is typical for senior Hamas commanders.
Albatsh's father Mohammad told Ynet Saturday night, speaking from the family's Jabalia mourning tent, that the Mossad was behind his son's assassination and disavowed any links he may have had with Hamas.
The father then recounted how he received the news of his son's demise. "I got up for morning prayer and received a call from an international number I did not recognize. The person on the other side said he was an acquaintance of Fadi, and that he was shot by two people. I later saw all of the details on Facebook," he said.
Mohammad Albatsh had no doubts as to the guilty parties behind the attack, saying, "There's no other possibility except the Israeli Mossad being behind the hit."
The father's statement ran contrary to an official statement put out by Hamas, which initially stopped short of blaming Israel, saying only that he had been "assassinated by the hand of treachery." But later its top leader accused Mossad of killing him as well and threatened retaliation.
Ismail Haniyeh told The Associated Press Saturday that based on previous assassinations "Mossad is not away from this disgraceful, terrible crime."
"There will be an unsettled account between us and it," Haniyeh said at the Gaza mourning tent, referring to Mossad. "We cannot give up on the blood of our sons, youths and scholars."
The deceased's father, meanwhile, insisted that his son "did not belong to any of the Palestinian factions—neither Hamas nor Islamic Jihad. His academic success (in electrical engineering—ed), his studies and the international conferences he attended—all were things that may have motivated the Mossad to assassinate him."
The late Fadi Albatsh was behind 18 studies in his field, his father added, saying he was slated to attend an international conference in Turkey Sunday. The Albatsh patriarch refused to answer what interest would have in taking out his son if he indeed had no organizational ties.
"It's not an internal hit. My son is a martyr who's in Allah's hands now," was his only comment.
Besides his Hamas affiliation, Albatsh was also a cousin of Khaled Albatsh, a senior official in the Islamic Jihad militant group, who accused the Israeli Mossad spy agency of the assassination, without providing evidence.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.