Hamas says man gunned down in Malaysia was important member

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The Hamas militant group says a man who was gunned down in Malaysia was one of its members who had made "important contributions" in science.

In a statement, Hamas said Saturday that Palestinian engineer Fadi al-Batsh was a "loyal" member and a "scientist of Palestine's youth scholars." It gave no further details on his scientific accomplishments but said he had participated in international forums in the field of energy.

Hamas stopped short of blaming Israel, saying only that he had been "assassinated by the hand of treachery." But relatives of al-Batsh believe Israel targeted him.

Malaysian police say Batsh was gunned down by two assailants on a motorbike as he was heading to a mosque for dawn prayers. Besides his Hamas affiliation, he was also a relative of a senior official in the Islamic Jihad militant group.