Malaysia denies providing training for Hamas fighters

Malaysia denies providing training for Hamas fighters
# 31 July 2014 17:43 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Malaysia has denied allegations published in an Israeli newspaper that the country has served as a training ground for Hamas fighters, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar on Thursday rubbished the Jerusalem Post report in which it claimed Shin Bet (Israel's Security Agency) sources had revealed that a Hamas fighter in its custody had said he was trained in Malaysia to participate in Hamas' efforts to oppose Israel's ground offensive in Gaza.

“The report is incorrect and very misleading. We will be pursuing the matter via specific channels, as we do not have diplomatic ties with them [Israel],” he told the Anadolu Agency via a telephone conversation Thursday.

Jaafar said that Malaysia is a multi-cultural country - with Muslims constituting 65 percent of its 28 million population - and it is therefore impossible for it to provide such combat training.

Even if it were a fully Muslim country, Malaysia would "never ever" agree to undertaking such a process, the deputy minister highlighted.

“[It] does not matter what kind of freedom fighting group they belong to, even those against Israel, we have never allowed or given permission to have such trainings here... We do not have combat training for such purposes. Those who are interested can train in a different country,” he said.

Jaafar did not elaborate on which "different country" he was referring to.

The newspaper quoted Shin Bet as saying that the suspect - accused of being a Hamas cell commander captured in the territory's city of Khan Younis - had traveled to Malaysia in 2012, where he and nine other Hamas members allegedly learned how to fly a powered parachute, were taught how to kidnap soldiers, and were educated in tunnel warfare.

The Post reported the source as saying that on returning, the cell was scheduled to train others in flying into Israel to carry out attacks, and ordered by commanders to keep their training top secret.

It said that the source had also claimed that Hamas had designated the 10th floor of a Red Crescent building in Khan Younis as a sniper position.

Israel has long accused Hamas of using buildings housing offices of humanitarian agencies working in the territory as cover for its operations. Hamas, meanwhile, has always denied it has used hospitals or "buildings housing offices of humanitarian agencies" as such cover.

Malaysia, which has no diplomatic ties with Israel, has been extremely vocal in its criticism of the country, highlighting what it calls the "intrusion" of Israel and its "brutal actions" taken to conquer neighboring Palestine, where it has says Palestinians have lived in fear and danger for many decades.

Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, an outspoken proponent of Palestine, has frequently condemned Israel and the United States - who he considers its backbone - on the Palestine issue.

Israel’s latest operation against the densely populated Gaza Strip has drawn condemnation from countries across the world. Peru and Brazil have recalled their ambassadors to Tel Aviv over the humanitarian crisis, while Bolivian President Evo Morales tore up a long-standing visa exemption agreement with Israel after declaring it a "terrorist state" on Wednesday.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of “creating a wave of terror” during a recent CNN interview.

Israel's bombardment of Gaza has claimed over 1,300 Palestinians’ lives – the vast majority of them civilians.