Report: Assassinated Hamas engineer was arms dealer

Al-Batsh served as a Hamas arms dealer in Malaysia, possibly buying illegal North Korean weapons.

By: World Israel News Staff

Fadi al-Batsh, a Hamas-linked electrical engineer assassinated in Malaysia over the weekend, was shot because of his arms dealings for the terror organizations.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the hit was part of a broader operation ordered by the Mossad chief Yossi Cohen to dismantle a Hamas project that sends promising Palestinian scientists and engineers overseas to gather know-how and weaponry to fight Israel.

The report quoted “Middle Eastern intelligence officials” who confirmed the information.

Batsh, a technology expert for Hamas’ military wing, co-wrote a paper on drone applications in 2013. He was sent by the terror group to Malaysia to research and acquire weapons systems and drones, the report said.

Hamas’ advances in unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles could be used to attack Israeli targets more effectively than the rockets Hamas used during its last wars against Israel, the officials explained.

The report also quotes “Western and Middle Eastern intelligence officials” who said that Batsh may have been involved in negotiating North Korean arms deals through Malaysia.

Egypt recently seized a shipment of North Korean communications components used for guided munitions destined for Gaza, they said. One intelligence official said that Batsh helped mediate the deal.

Malaysia is known as a port for contraband, ranging from North Korean weapons to endangered animal products, the report noted.

Hamas, in recent years, has seen Malaysia as an ideal place to promote its research ambitions and train terrorists. In 2010, Hamas terrorists were sent there to train in paragliding as a potential tool for attacks, but they were subsequently arrested by Israeli forces.

Malaysian police on Wednesday released a photo of one of the two alleged assailants who shot al-Batsh, described by Hamas as a “commander” in its military wing, while accusing Israel of being behind Saturday’s shooting.

Israel has neither officially confirmed nor denied involvement, while Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said the hit was the outcome of Palestinian infighting.