A scientist and a doctor from the Gaza Strip died in Algeria on Sunday under unexplained circumstances, Palestinian media reported, setting off all kinds of speculation that the two may have in fact been assassinated, according to The Times of Israel.
According to the reports, the Palestinian embassy in Algeria informed the scientists’ families that the two were discovered in their apartment, where they were found deceased. The cause of death appeared to be from a gas leak or electrical malfunction, although Algerian authorities were still working to determine a cause of death, the reports said.
Some Arabic media reports claimed the two were assassinated, but there was no confirmation of this. There have been two high-profile cases of killings of Palestinian scientists affiliated with the Hamas terror, in recent months, The Times of Israel reports. Both of those cases wound up being blamed on Israel.
The two apparently came from the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, but any possible connections to Hamas, the terror group that rules in Gaza, are unknown at this time.
In April, Hamas accused Israel’s Mossad spy agency of killing one its scientists living in Malaysia in a drive-by-shooting, The Times of Israel reports.
Hamas said it would strike back at Israel for the killing of Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, who it said was a commander in its military wing. Israeli media reported that Batsh was a key player in a military drone program being developed by Hamas and an expert in rockets.
After Tunisian engineer Mohamed Zouari was killed outside his home in the port city of Sfax in December 2016, Batsh was eventually killed. Hamas also blamed the Zouari shooting on Israel.
Zouari was reported to be the head of the Palestinian terror group’s drone program, according to the Times of Israel.
Israel recently launched an attack on Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers, perhaps the most fierce since their 2014 war, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, in waves of airstrikes that drew barrages of Palestinian mortar and rocket fire.
Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in an Israeli aerial attack, health officials said, and three Israelis were wounded by fire from Gaza that landed in a border town. Israeli and Palestinian media reported efforts by international mediators including Egypt to broker a cease-fire.
Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Jonathan Conricus said the purpose of the operation from earlier this month was to stop arson attacks, attempted border breaches, and assaults on soldiers that have grown increasingly violent.
“We will intensify our attacks as needed,” Netanyahu vowed in a video message.
Volatility along the border has picked up and heightened since Gazans launched near-weekly protests against Israel in late March. Almost 140 Palestinians, some of them unarmed, were killed in confrontations so far. Militants have tried repeatedly to break through the security fence along the border, attacked soldiers, and destroyed thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in southern Israel with kites and balloons outfitted with firebombs and explosives, according to Bloomberg.
By: Courtney Petroff