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(File pic) Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Fuzi Harun (right) recently said they were still waiting for ballistic report on the type of weapon used by the assailants. (BERNAMA photo)

BANGKOK: The two “Middle Eastern”- looking men accused of assassinating Palestinian lecturer, Dr Mohamed Fadi Al-Batsh in Setapak last month might have used a pistol or a submachine gun to kill him.

A security source told Bernama that the investigation team did not dismiss the possibility that the suspects could be using an Uzi, a compact and easy to conceal submachine gun used especially by special forces operatives.

“It could be a pistol or submachine gun. Yes, they could be using a Uzi (for the Al-Batsh murder),” he said but cautioned that nothing was conclusive yet as the investigation was ongoing.

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Fuzi Harun recently said they were still waiting for ballistic report on the type of weapon used by the assailants.

The probability the men used an Uzi to assasinate Al-Batsh could strengthen the accusations made by certain parties including by the victim's family that Israel's spy agency, Mossad was responsible for the killing.

Uzi was produced by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) and used extensively by the Israel Defence Force (IDF) during the many conflicts in the region. As demand for Uzi increased all over the world, the weapon was now being manufactured by other companies outside Israel.

The submachine gun was also commonly used by other armed forces besides Israel.

Weighing about 3kg, compact and easy to use, the original Uzi uses 9mm calibre bullets similar to pistol's rounds, but possessed a very high-rate of fire capable of reaching up to 1000 rounds per minute, depending on its variants.

Besides the original Uzi submachine gun, which was designed by Uziel Gal in 1940s, the maker of the weapon had also came out with different variants of the popular weapon, which are much smaller in size compared to the original Uzi, called the Mini Uzi, Micro Uzi and Uzi Pro pistol.

Attracted by its light weight, compact design with a high-rate of fire, various members of special forces and hit squad used Uzi or its smaller variants, especially when engaging the enemy in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) or covert operations.

Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman had denied Tel Aviv involvement with the murder, but it had not stopped the finger pointing on Mossad, which had been accused of assassinating Hamas and other Palestinian personalities in the past.

Despite Tel Aviv's denial, journalist and local newspaper in Israel claimed the killing of Al-Batsh bore all the hallmarks of a Mossad hit job.

Malaysian police also declined to pin the blame on Mossad operatives for the murder as the probe was ongoing, but had widen their investigations by sending a special team to Bangkok and requested cooperation from their counterpart in Singapore and the Philippines.

A security source disclosed to Bernama recently that the two men had used fake Serbia and Montenegro passport to enter Malaysia, a revelation which was later confirmed by the IGP. Using counterfeit travel document was a common tactics used by spy agents to slip in and out of a country undetected.

The source also revealed one of the suspect had used Serbia and Montenegro's passport of a 14 year-old boy.

After assassinating Al-Batsh, the men who were described as "highly professional" and connected to "Arab-Israeli conflict" fled to Thailand using illegal routes along the border.

Al-Batsh was killed while walking to a nearby mosque for a dawn prayer by two men riding a high-powered motorcycle, who sprayed about 10 gunshots at the Palestinian man.

The father of three had been living in Malaysia for about 10 years and was employed by a local university. His body was repatriated to Gaza Strip for a martyr burial. -- BERNAMA

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