Was slain Batash a Hamas military commander?

Israeli media claimed that Fadi al-Batash was involved in drone development. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A top Hamas leader has vowed revenge against Mossad, Israel’s espionage and intelligence agency, over the assassination of Palestinian lecturer Fadi al-Batash in Setapak yesterday.

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh was reported by the Associated Press as saying: “There will be an unsettled account between us and (Mossad)”, accusing the agency of being responsible. Based on previous assassinations “Mossad is not away from this disgraceful, terrible crime.”

“We cannot give up on the blood of our sons, youths and scholars,” added Ismail, a former prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, who was at the mourning tent for Batash in Gaza yesterday.

AP also reported Hamas as saying that Batash, 35, was a “loyal” member and a “scientist of Palestine’s youth scholars” who had made “important contributions” and participated in international forums on energy.

The Israeli government had no comment but Israeli media reported that he was deeply involved in the Hamas drone development project.

According to AP, the funeral service suggested that Batash was a military commander of Hamas, a key Palestinian resistance movement against Israeli occupation.

It reported that a banner at the mourning tent described him as a member of its military wing.

“Ten masked militants in camouflage uniforms stood in a line outside the tent in Jabaliya, the slain man’s hometown, to greet mourners. The ceremony is typical for senior Hamas commanders,” the report said.

Batash was gunned down at about 6am yesterday as he was walking from his condominium to a nearby surau in Jalan Meranti for dawn prayers.

He was shot more than 10 times at close range by two unidentified men on a motorcycle.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said a preliminary investigation showed that Batash was to have left for Turkey in the afternoon to attend an international conference.

“The lecturer, a permanent resident of this country, is believed to have become a liability for a country hostile to Palestine,” the home minister said.

He also said the police would work with Interpol and Aseanapol to track down the assassins.

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