By P Prem Kumar
Malaysia has denied claims by Israel's secret service that Hamas has been providing military training within its borders for Palestinian students studying at Malaysian universities.
Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told The Anadolu Agency on Thursday that the unsourced allegation was purely to create "ill-perceptions" of Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation.
"This is a normal process for Israel. They will just accuse any countries without thinking twice. They do not like Malaysia and vice-versa, so this is their strategy," he said.
"They are only creating reasons to oppose Malaysia."
On Tuesday, Israeli daily Haaretz cited claims by Shin Bet officials that Hamas was training Palestinians from the West Bank currently studying in Malaysia to carry out militant operations under the auspices of Hamas' armed wing.
According to the newspaper, the students had been trained to operate "undercover" upon their return to the West Bank.
Hamas has derided the report as nonsense.
"The Shin Bet's accusations… are baseless; they are mere lies," the group said in a statement.
It said the claims were intended to ratchet up pressure on Palestinian students based abroad.
"The Israeli accusations are aimed at preventing West Bank [Palestinian] students from traveling abroad to pursue their studies and providing a justification for their arrest upon their return," the group added.
On Thursday, Jaafar reiterated the Malaysian government's stand that it would never allow any foreign military training or militants to conduct activities in the country.
Tuesday's claim was the second time in the last year that Malaysia has been forced to deny such accusations
In July 2014, the Jerusalem Post reported that the country had served as a training ground for Hamas fighters.
“The report is incorrect and very misleading," Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi told AA in July.
"We will be pursuing the matter via specific channels, as we do not have diplomatic ties with them [Israel],” he stated.
Malaysia has been extremely vocal in its criticism of Israel.
It has highlighted the "intrusion" of Israel and the "brutal actions" it has taken to conquer neighboring Palestine, where it 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.
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