Malaysia accuses Mossad of recruiting locals

The Southeast Asian country is reportedly investigating allegations into Israeli intelligence activities, including the attempted abduction of two Palestinians.

By Erin Viner

Caretaker Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin told the New Straits Times (NST), “We should look into matters like this, then we will announce (further action),” in response to the publication’s report that Mossad agents had used Malaysians to carry out a covert operation to abduct two Palestinians.

The New Straits Times is a conglomerate of publishing companies in the Muslim-majority country, which has long been hostile to the Jewish State. While the two countries hold no formal diplomatic relations, commercial trade does exist.

A series of articles claimed the operation was carried out 28 September by a local Malaysian cell led by a woman in her mid-30s, who allegedly joined the Mossad around 2018. The two targets, believed to be members of Hamas’ Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing, were accosted in Kuala Lumpur by four men driving a white vehicle. One of the men escaped capture, while the other was underwent interrogation at an undisclosed location for some 24 hours before being freed by police.

“The Israelis wanted to know about his experience with software, Hamas’s strengths in that field and about members of the terror group’s military wing,” a source connected to the case told NST.

11 people were charged on 14 October for involvement in the crime, according to Malaysia‘s Police Inspector-General Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

The Hamas-run Gaza Interior and Security Ministry reportedly expressed gratitude to Malaysian authorities “for rescuing a Palestinian man who was kidnapped here last month,” said the Malaysian outlet.

“While we thank the Malaysian police and security services, we denounce this crime committed by the occupation (Israelis) against one of our Palestinian people in Malaysia,” the Gaza ministry said in the re-published statement, adding that the incident “exposed the activities of Mossad members operating abroad and their larger network.”

Kuala Lumpur previously accused the Mossad of being behind the fatal 21 April 2018 drive-by shooting of Fadi Mohamed al-Batsh, 35, a Palestinian lecturer in electrical engineering at a local university. Jerusalem has denied the accusations.

In response to a TV7 inquiry at the time, a Malaysian official revealed that “al-Batsh was active in pro-Palestinian non-governmental organizations,” further describing him as “an expert in electrical engineering and rocket-building.” Moreover, intelligence reports labeled the 35-year-old as the leader of an initiative to upgrade Hamas weaponry including rocket precision. The reports further noted that Batsh received his orders from Hamas headquarters in Turkey.