12/19/2016, 12.54
TUNISIA - ISRAEL
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Israel and Mossad suspected of being behind the assassination of a Tunisian engineer linked to Hamas

by Pierre Balanian

Israeli television correspondent reveals phases of Muhammad Al Zuari’s death. The Tunisian engineer lived in Syria and was linked to the radical Palestinian movement. According to intelligence he was perfecting a drones system for Hamas and Hezbollah, capable of transporting explosives. Others talk of remote-controlled submarines.

 

Tunis (AsiaNews) - An Israeli correspondent  for channel 10 TV, Moav Vardi, famous for having covered the Egyptian "Arab Spring" from Cairo in 2011, appeared yesterday live from Tunis, capital of Tunisia, a country that does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.

In his report the renowned journalist broadcast from the site where Tunisian engineer Muhammad Al Zuari was killed.  He was suspected by the Israeli press of being the mastermind behind the creation and supply of drones to the Palestinian fundamentalist group Hamas.

The journalist began his service gripping the microphone with the Israeli TV the logo from the central square, saying: "I greet you from Tunis, where Israel has assassinated Khalil Al Wazir, Abu Jihad, in 1988".

Moav said that he went into the house of the murdered engineer and had spoken with his family "without revealing that I was Israeli and without a camera", shortly after returning from the funeral.

Just how he entered  Tunisian territory through the international airport of Tunis Carthage is unknown, but  later he hired a car "up in Sfax, 270 km from Tunis," as he told viewers. The report broadcast live by Channel 10 of the Israeli television, shows Moav quietly moving around and indicating the bullet marks on the car park gate, which caused the Tunisian engineer's death.

The video from Sfax of ordinary people in front of the gas station was taken with a hidden camera. From the pictures one can see mainly peoples feet.  However, the reporter still managed to film the police in front of the car, a black Polo, in which the engineer Zuari was killed, with what does not appear to have been a hidden camera.

He even interviewed eyewitnesses in French and received replies in Arabic, and, in particular, one old man who said: "I saw the broken glass and he [the engineer] slumped over [the steering wheel dead]. That's it ... It all happened very fast, the operation was quick and finished before that people could regroup and come to the spot. "

When asked if the witnesses have seen or heard someone, the old man responded three times "we heard nothing." Another person  added “it is the work of foreigners, God only knows. He had just left home and was pelted with bullets. It was the only goal. " Moav then shown two pictures of the engineer intent demonstrating craft drones and how he helped Hamas to manufacture drones in their possession.

Moav has even interviewed the murdered engineer's veiled wife, who said she thought "a gas cylinder had exploded, then I went out and saw it was my husband." Another member of the murdered engineer's family said: "All you have to do is look at how the shots were fired in the parking lot, to realize that this is the work of professionals."

The Israeli TV report also shows filmed images of Muhammad Al Zuari ‘s arrival in Tunis. "He came to Tunis from abroad four days earlier" said Moav, confirming what he was "followed and monitored." The Israeli reporter added that "he used to make several trips between Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and Tunisia" and was working on the project of remote-controlled submarines. According to Israel's Channel 10 TV "even the Tunisian intelligence services were following Mohamad Zuari, who was a member of Hamas."

The word "also" used by the Israeli press is certainly not enough to deflect suspicion from Israel, nor to belittle the enormous interest of the Israeli press that resulted in its sending - in spite of the risks - a journalist to the site to report on the facts and comments first hand. Meanwhile, the president of the Tunisian Council stated that it doubted the existence of foreign involvement in the assassination, while stating that they were closely following the investigation.

The Tunisian Republican Party has called on all citizens to demonstrate tomorrow, in a sign of national mourning, raising "Tunisian and Palestinian flags to condemn the assassination and express solidarity with the Tunisian government and the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist occupation."

Hamas has recognized the engineer's role in the creation of Zuari Abalil drones supplied by Kataeb Al Qassam. Spokesman Mushir al-Masri has accused the Israeli Mossad of killing Zuari, a leading figure of the movement while promising retaliation and that the "blood of the martyr Zuari will not be shed in vain."

If the operation was indeed carried out by the Mossad, it would be the first mission of the new head of the Israeli network Yossi Cohen and would indicate his willingness to restore Mossad's ability to perform preventive operations on foreign soil.

Commenting on the Channel 10 report, Israeli spokesman for Security Affairs Ronen Bergman - asked about the accusations against the Mossad directed by the Tunisian press - said: "Not everything journalists and Tunisian newspapers report is lies, wrong or invented. "

Mohamad Zuari, the engineer assassinated on 15 December last, was a former Tunisian airline pilot, an Air Force engineer who worked on drones programs. He had left Tunisia in 1991 and lived in Syria, where he had married a Syrian, and joined Hamas a decade ago. He left Syria at the beginning of the war and returned to live in his parents' house with his wife in Sfax.

According to Roni Daniel, an Israeli military expert, "Zuari was perfecting the Hamas and Hezbollah drone system, with capacity to transport explosives." According to the latest information, he had already passed this stage and was working on a project of remotely piloted submarines.

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