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Malaysia releases images of suspects in Palestinian's murder

KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian police yesterday released computer generated photographs of two men suspected of gunning down a Palestinian man here, adding that alerts have been put out for them at all the country's exit points.

Two men on a motorcycle fired at least 14 shots at Mr Fadi al-Batsh, an engineering lecturer, at 6am on Saturday, killing him instantly.

Hamas, an Islamist militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, accused Israel's Mossad spy agency of assassinating Mr Batsh, who they say was a member of their group. Israel dismissed the charge.

The photographs of the suspects are based on descriptions by witnesses, police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun told reporters.

They show two light-skinned suspects who may be European or Middle Eastern. Both men are about 1.8m tall with sturdy builds, the police chief said.

Both suspects were on a high-powered, dark-coloured motorbike which could be a BMW or a Kawasaki.

Both were carrying backpacks and wearing dark jackets and helmets, he added.

The photos showed one suspect wearing glasses.

A forensic examination found that the victim died of multiple injuries to his head and body. Fourteen bullets were found.

"We will send some of the bullets collected to our analysis experts to determine what kind of weapon was used in this heinous killing," Mr Mohamad Fuzi said.

He said the police were not sure 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 photofit," 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.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed claims of Mossad's role in the murder and said it was likely that Mr Batsh was killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute.

Mr Batsh's family has asked for his body to be buried in Gaza.

Mossad has been accused of several high-profile killings involving Palestinians around the world, although Israel has consistently denied the accusations.

In recent weeks, tensions have been running high at the Gaza-Israel border as Palestinians have ramped up protests demanding the right to return to homes that are now in Israel.

Israel's use of live fire, killing at least 35 Palestinians, has drawn international criticism. Israel said it is protecting its borders and takes such action when protesters come too close to the border fence. - REUTERS

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