Israel's Mossad responsible for kidnapping of Palestinian in Malaysia, local media says
The intelligence agency recruited Malaysians to carry out the plot, which saw the man questioned through a video call about issues concerning Gaza rulers Hamas, the New Straits Times reported.
It was a "brazen snatch-and-grab operation in the heart" of the capital, the paper said, adding that the incident took place on 28 September.
The kidnapped man was with another Palestinian man at the time, and both were computer programmers.
The second Palestinian attempted to assist the one being kidnapped but the abductors told him to keep away.
After realising the kidnapping may be connected to Israel, the second man rushed to a hotel close by to ask "security personnel stationed there" for help.
The New Straits Times said a "shadow car" followed the vehicle carrying the kidnapped man.
The incident was reported to the police by the second man around 40 minutes after it happened.
The kidnapped Palestinian was beaten in the vehicle before being taken to a chalet and tied to a chair.
"A video call had been set up in front of the victim," the New Straits Times reported.
"On the line were two men, believed to be Israelis, whose opening line to him was: 'You know why you are here.'"
Over the following 24 hours, the Palestinian man was "interrogated and beaten by the Malaysian operatives when his responses were not to the Israelis' satisfaction", the New Straits Times reported.
"The Israelis wanted to know about his experience in computer application development, Hamas' strength in developing software, members of the Al-Qassam Brigade [Hamas's armed branch] that he knew and their strengths," an informed source cited by the paper said.
The source said the kidnappers "may have had a miscommunication with their Israeli handlers and several other Malaysians waiting at the chalet" since they "bungled and let the other Palestinian get away".
The source said the other man "would have been the more prized capture".
The abductors did not cover their faces and the number plate of the vehicle they drove was "said to be genuine", according to the New Straits Times.
A separate room at the chalet had been readied for the second man.
In a killing widely blamed Israel, Fady al-Batsh, a Gaza-born electrical engineer and a Hamas activist, was gunned down by two motorcyclists as he walked to dawn prayers in Kuala Lumpur in 2018. 👇https://t.co/63qda5CCZ0— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) January 10, 2022
The kidnapped Palestinian was eventually rescued by police who stormed the room where he was being held.
"If the Malaysian police had not acted swiftly, the victim would likely have disappeared," according to the source.
The "traumatised Palestinians" are no longer in Malaysia, the New Straits Times reported.
Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post said the Israeli military in May 2021 "announced that its policy was to target Hamas activists anywhere".
Palestinian engineer Fady Al-Batsh, who was a Hamas activist, was killed in Malaysia in 2018.
The deputy prime minister of Malaysia when the incident occurred said soon after the killing that the suspects were thought to be Europeans connected to a foreign intelligence organisation, Reuters reported in 2018, citing national news agency Bernama.
Al-Batsh's family and Hamas have alleged the Mossad was responsible. Israel has denied this.