Israel likely behind murder of Hamas-linked ex-pilot: Tunisia

Israel likely behind murder of Hamas-linked ex-pilot: Tunisia

Mon Jan 2, 2017 8:27AM

Tunisia says the Tel Aviv regime is suspected of being behind the recent assassination of Mohamed Zaouari, an aviation engineer with reported ties to the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas.

“There is suspicion that Israel was involved in the murder of the Hamas engineer,” Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Sunday during a speech marking the New Year.

Essebsi further noted that an investigation into the murder was still underway, dismissing criticisms that the Tunisian government was not doing enough to advance the probe.

Tunisia will turn to the international community once it collects abundant evidence on the case, he added.

Zaouari was shot dead in his car outside his house in Tunisia’s port city of Sfax, on December 15. The attacker reportedly fled the scene.


Tunisians take part in a demonstration against Israel holding placards depicting assassinated drone expert, Mohamed Zaouari, in the capital, Tunis, December 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

He was a former Tunisian pilot and served as the head of a south Tunisia civil aviation organization.

Hamas’s al-Qassam Martyrs Brigade said the 49-year-old Tunisian national was killed by “Zionist treachery,” adding that the victim was a drone expert who had worked for the anti-Israeli resistance front for a decade.

Tunisian Interior Minister Hedi Majdoub has also said that the killing had been planned abroad by foreigners.

Asked about Zaouari’s death, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli minister for military affairs, said the regime “does what needs to be done to defend its interests.”

Back in 2012, Israel admitted to the 1988 assassination of Abu Jihad, the second-in-command of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in Tunis.