Lieberman on Palestinian Scientist Killed in Malaysia: ‘He Was Not a Saint’

Fadi Albatsh (R) receiving the best researcher award in Malaysia in 2016. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested on Sunday that the assassination at close range of Hamas engineer Fadi al-Batash in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, over the weekend may have been “the result of a settling of accounts within the Islamist group.”

He did not respond directly, however, when asked if Israel was behind the killing.

In an interview to Kan Reshet Bet radio, Lieberman was asked if he had heard about the engineer’s death before or after it happened. He replied:

“We heard about this on the news. There’s a tradition at this point among terrorist organizations of blaming Israel for every settling of accounts.”

“The man was not a saint,” Lieberman said referring to Al-Batash.

“He wasn’t involved with improving the electricity grid or infrastructure and water. We have heard the announcements by the heads of the Hamas taking responsibility for the man, explaining the he was involved with the production of rockets, with improving the rockets’ accuracy.”

In a separate interview with Army Radio, Lieberman spoke about whether Al-Batash would be buried in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas controls. Al-Batash is a former resident of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

“There is a set procedure. We aren’t letting the bodies of Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip,” Lieberman said, adding however, the Israel cannot prevent the body from being brought into Gaza from Egypt, which also borders the coastal enclave, although he said Israel was working to urge the Egyptians not to allow the body in either.

Al-Batash’s family as well as a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Khaled al-Batash, accused Israel’s Mossad espionage agency of carrying out the attack. Mohammed al-Batash, the dead engineer’s father, gave an interview in which he specifically said he considers the Mossad responsible for his son’s death.

“Israel assassinates scientists to destroy the mainstays of the development and science of the nation,” the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, said Saturday.

“We have demanded that the Malaysian government open a quick investigation to examine the circumstances of the assassination from up close,” he stated.

(Haaretz, PC, Social Media)

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