Jack Khoury, David Stavrou — Haaretz Aug 22, 2017
Palestinian sources in Gaza have accused the Mossad of assassinating a Palestinian man in his 20s in southern Sweden on Saturday.
The man’s father claims it was the result of a domestic dispute with a Jewish neighbor.
Swedish police released a statement on Sunday about the incident in the small town of Limmared: “Reports said several people wearing masks entered the apartment through a balcony and shot the man inside. They disappeared after the shooting as quickly as they arrived,” it said.
The man has been identified as Mohammed Tahsin al-Bazam, a Palestinian who formerly resided in the Gaza Strip. He had reportedly been living in Sweden, along with his family, for the past few years.
The Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip published a statement in the Palestinian media in which it accused Israel’s espionage agency of assassinating Bazam. In an interview with a Palestinian news agency, the man’s father, Tahsin al-Bazam, said his son worked in marketing and was not involved in political activity.
After the shooting, Bazam was initially taken to a local hospital but was then flown to a larger medical centre in Gothenburg where he died of his injuries.
Bazam’s murder has not caused much of a stir in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, but a number of Palestinian media outlets reported the incident as a mysterious assassination.
A statement published on a number of Palestinian websites, attributed to the Fatah movement in Gaza, said Israeli espionage agents were responsible for Bazam’s death.
Other websites reported that Bazam was a released prisoner. Meanwhile, on a Facebook page featuring reports from the Gaza Strip, his photo was published alongside a caption defining him as “a shahid [martyr] who was murdered by his Jewish neighbour.”
Despite the reports, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club told Haaretz they were not familiar with Bazam’s name, and the claim that he was a released prisoner needed to be checked.
Prisoners Affairs Authority head Issa Qaraqe said that according to initial information he had received, this was a murder in a criminal context and noted that the man was not a released prisoner.
Palestinian Foreign Ministry sources said its embassy in Sweden is following the police investigation and awaiting further news.
The man’s father, Tahsin al-Bazam, works as an imam in Sweden. According to him, his son was murdered by two people who came to his door and shot him at close range. He claimed that his son had a Jewish neighbour who held parties that involved alcohol and drugs, and noted that his son used to complain to the neighbour whenever there was excessive noise. He believed this was the background to the murder
“It could be that an argument developed that ended in murder, or that it was a murder in a racist context because they identified him as a Palestinian Arab and a Muslim,” alleged the father.
Bazam’s murder joins a list of assassinations attributed to Israel by the Palestinians. Tunisian Mohammed Alzoari, a Hamas drone engineer, was killed by unknown gunmen in the city of Sfax, southern Tunisia, last December. The Tunisian government announced that foreign elements were responsible for his death, while a Tunisian journalist attributed Alzoari’s death to the Mossad.
Previous assassinations also attributed to the Mossad include senior Hezbollah operative Imad Mughniyeh, who was blown up in Damascus in 2008; Hassan al-Laqqis, head of Hezbollah’s technological apparatus, killed in Beirut in 2013; and Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior member of Hamas’ weapons smuggling network, killed in a Dubai hotel in 2010. And last December, Samir Kuntar – the Druze terrorist who worked for Hezbollah after his release from Israeli prison – was killed in an airstrike in Syria.
Israel neither confirms nor denies any of its alleged overseas activities, but says it reserves the right to fight terror even beyond its borders.