Middle East

Israel behind 2016 Tunisia assassination: Hamas

Mohamed al-Zawari, an aviation engineer and member of Hamas’s armed wing, was murdered late last year in Tunisia

Israel behind 2016 Tunisia assassination: Hamas file photo


Hamas on Thursday officially blamed Israel for last year’s assassination in Tunisia of Mohamed al-Zawari, a Tunisian aviation engineer and a member of the group’s armed wing.

The accusation was leveled by Mohamed Nazzal, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, at a press conference convened in Beirut to announce the results of the group’s ongoing probe into al-Zawari’s murder.

According to Nazzal, Israel’s Mossad intelligence service killed al-Zawari in collaboration with “other parties”, which, Nazzal said, had provided logistical support for the operation.

He did not specify as to what “other parties” he was referring.

“Three different groups contributed to the [assassination] operation, which was supervised by a Mossad officer code-named Johann," Nazzal said.

"The first group provided logistics, the second was tasked with information collection, and the third was tasked with carrying out the hit," he added.

The Hamas official went on to assert that two assassins carrying Bosnian passports had used guns equipped with silencers to kill their target.

According to Nazzal, Hamas began investigating the incident immediately after al-Zawari’s death last December with a view to identifying the perpetrators.

"We have already accused the Mossad [of committing the act] but now we have corroborating evidence," he said, without providing the nature of the evidence found.

"Now we must hold the terrorist Zionist entity [i.e., Israel], which always accuses others of committing terrorism, to account,” he added.

"The Mossad has not stopped its terrorist activities against the [Palestinian] resistance,” Nazzal said. “We will spare no effort in pursuing the Zionist entity, legally, politically and morally.”

A Tunisian aviation engineer, al-Zawari was shot dead in late December outside his home in Tunisia’s southeastern city of Sfax.

In the months since, Hamas has repeatedly blamed Israel for al-Zawari’s death, saying the slain engineer had overseen the group’s secret drone program.

Israel is widely believed to have killed numerous Palestinian resistance activists in the past, many of them overseas.

In 1997, Mossad agents in Amman tried -- and failed -- to kill Hamas’s then political chief, Khaled Meshaal, by spraying poison into his ear.

The Mossad is also believed to have been behind the 2010 assassination of Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel, although Israel never confirmed or denied its involvement in the murder.

Reporting by Yasser al-Banna:Writing by Ali H. M.Abo Rezeg

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