Fadi al-Batsh، a well-liked electrical engineering lecturer and devout family man، always had a smile for his friends and students in the seven years since he moved to Malaysia from his native Gaza، according to New York Times.
On Saturday، as he walked outside his apartment building in suburban Kuala Lumpur، he was gunned down in a hail of at least 14 bullets by two men on a motorcycle.
It was the Palestinian man’s undercover job — as what intelligence officials described as a technology expert for the military wing of the Gaza-based Hamas movement — that had put him in the cross hairs.
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 fight Israel.
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 Mr. Batsh’s death. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman blamed the assassination on internal rivalries within the Palestinian leadership.
In 2016، Mohammed Zawahri، a Tunisian scientist and Hamas military commander who was said to be developing aerial and underwater drone warfare technology، was shot dead in the Tunisian city of Sfax. In January، a car bomb injured Mohammed Hamdan، a Hamas operative who was said to be building a workshop to produce missile parts and drones in Sidon، Lebanon.