Malaysian police on Monday released computer-generated photographs of two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian weapons engineer who worked for Hamas in Kuala Lumpur.
Two men on a motorcycle on Saturday fired at least 14 shots at Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer and drones and rockets expert, killing him on the spot.
Royal Malaysia Police Chief Muhammad Fuzi Bin Harun highlighted Batsh’s international and Palestinian-related activities, seemingly deemphasizing his identity as an average Malaysian resident of international origin.
While Hamas and Batsh’s family have pointed the finger at Israel’s Mossad, Muhammad Fuzi said it was too early to speculate.
The images of the suspects are based on descriptions by witnesses, the police chief told reporters.
Although Muhammad Fuzi made a big deal about releasing the images, and added that alerts have been put out for them at all the country’s exit points, there are potential issues with the photos and the assassins were likely out of the country within hours of the hit.
The photographs of the suspects are based on descriptions by witnesses, but not actual direct photos. While initially Malaysian officials said the suspects were likely European, now officials are showing two light-skinned suspects who might be European or Middle Eastern.
Both men are about 180-cm. tall (5’11”) with sturdy builds, the police chief said.
It was unclear if the men’s facial hair would help to identify them or if it was grown as a disguise for the operation and has already be shaved off.
Both suspects were on a high-powered, dark-colored motorbike which could be a BMW or a Kawasaki. Both were carrying backpacks and were wearing dark jackets, which likely obscured a direct photo of their faces.
The photos showed one suspect wearing a helmet and glasses. It was unclear why the other photo did not show a helmet, as earlier reports said both suspects were wearing helmets.
A forensic examination found that the victim died of multiple injuries to his head and body. Fourteen bullets were found.
Malaysia police says investigation still underway in Palestinian killing suspected to have been carried out by Israel's Mossad, April 22, 2018 (Reuters)
“We will send some of the bullets collected to our analysis experts to determine what kind of weapon was used in this heinous killing,” Muhammad Fuzi said, adding that it was not certain whether the men were still in Malaysia.
“We can’t close off our exits and we don’t have any other information apart from the photo fit,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Saturday the suspects were believed to be Europeans with links to a foreign intelligence agency.