The Hamas movement’s military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades released a statement today confirming that the Tunisian aviation engineer Muhammad al-Zawahri who was reportedly assassinated on Thursday in Tunisia was one its leaders and manufactured drones for the movement.
The statement described al-Zawahri, 45, as a “martyr of Palestine, Tunisia, and the Arab and Islamic nations,” adding that the slain official, who is believed to have been assassinated by the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, was a leader of Hamas’ military wing.
Hamas directly accused Israel of the assassination, saying that “the coward Zionist hands assassinated the al-Qassam Brigades leader,” and called al-Zawahri the “pioneer of the Arab Spring and the sponsor of the Palestinian revolution and resistance.”
Assassinated Hamas drone expert Zawahri made repeated visits to…wait for it…Turkey. https://t.co/oaDTRCBiot
— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer) December 17, 2016
The statement highlighted that the Ababil drones, the Iranian-developed drone reportedly manufactured by al-Zawahri, played a major role in the resistance during the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip.
According to Hamas’ statement, al-Zawahri had joined Hamas’ military wing ten years ago following the “examples set” by several Arab and Muslim fighters who battled against the “Zionist enemy,” and defended Palestine.
“The enemy must know that the blood of the martyr and leader Muhammad al-Zawahri won’t be spilled in vain,” the statement warned, highlighting that the assassination was believed to be an assault on the Palestinian resistance and the al-Qassam Brigades.
— Palestine Trends (@Palestinolizer) December 17, 2016
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Tunisian journalist Burhan Basis said that the Mossad had carried out the assassination and al-Zawahri’s work on drones for the Hamas movement led to Israeli intelligence targeting the official.
Al-Zawahri was reportedly “shot at close range with six bullets, three to his head, while in his car,” Haaretz said, adding that reports indicated that the assassin was “highly professional and skilled, and didn’t leave a trace.”
Al-Zawhri was also a former Tunisair pilot, according to Haaretz, and worked with Tunisia’s civil aviation in assisting the training of young people on how to operate drones.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)