April 23, 2018 / 6:31 AM / 5 months ago

Malaysia releases images of suspects in murder of Palestinian

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police on Monday released computer generated photographs of two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian man in Kuala Lumpur, adding that alerts have been put out for them at all the country’s exit points.

A Royal Malaysia Police handout of a computer generated mugshot of one of the two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian man in Kuala Lumpur released April 23, 2018. Royal Malaysia Police/Handout via REUTERS

Two men on a motorcycle fired at least 14 shots at Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer, in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, killing him on the spot.

Hamas, an Islamist militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of assassinating Batsh, who they say was a member of their group. Israel dismissed the charge.

The photographs of the suspects are based on descriptions by witnesses, police chief Mohamad Fuzi Bin Harun told reporters.

They show two light-skinned suspects who may be European or Middle Eastern. Both men are about 180 cm with sturdy builds, the police chief said, according to a recording of his comments heard by Reuters.

A Royal Malaysia Police handout of a computer generated mugshot of one of the two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian man in Kuala Lumpur released April 23, 2018. Royal Malaysia Police/Handout via REUTERS

Both suspects are on a high-powered, dark-colored motorbike which could be a BMW or a Kawasaki. Both are carrying backpacks and have on dark jackets and helmets. 

The photos showed one suspect wearing a helmet and glasses.

A forensic examination found that the victim died of multiple injuries to his head and body. Fourteen bullets were found.

“We will send some of the bullets collected to our analysis experts to determine what kind of weapon was used in this heinous killing,” Mohamad Fuzi said.

He said they were not sure whether the men were still in Malaysia.

“We cant close off our exits and we don’t have any other information apart from the photofit,” he said.

A Royal Malaysia Police handout shows police officers holding computer generated mugshots of the two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian man at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur released April 23, 2018. Royal Malaysia Police/Handout via REUTERS

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Saturday the suspects were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed claims of Mossad’s role in the murder and said it was likely that Batsh was killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute.

Batsh’s family has requested for his body to be buried in Gaza.

Mossad has been accused of several high-profile killings involving Palestinians around the world, although Israel has consistently denied the accusations.

The spy agency was accused of executing the murder of Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room in Dubai in 2010. In 2016, Hamas blamed Mossad for the killing of a Tunisian national it described as one of its drone experts.

In recent weeks, tensions have been running high at the Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians have ramped up protests demanding the right to return to homes that are now in Israel.

Israel’s use of live fire, killing at least 35 Palestinians, has drawn international criticism. Israel says it is protecting its borders and takes such action when protesters come too close to the border fence.

In another mystery killing of a foreigner in Kuala Lumpur, two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, are on trial for murdering the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by smearing his face with VX, a banned chemical weapon, at the airport in February last year.

Reporting by Praveen Menon and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Nick Macfie

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