Tunisia Suspects Israel in Assassination of Hamas Drone Expert, President Says

Aviation engineer Mohammed Zawahri was shot dead in Tunisia on December 15. Hamas subsequently announced that he was a leader of its drone program.

 An undated photo of Mohammed Zawahri - a Hamas-linked drone expert allegedly assassinated by Israel.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Sunday that his government suspects Israel of being behind the assassination of aviation engineer Mohammed Zawahri on December 15. 

Zawahri was shot to death outside his home in Sfax, Tunisia, on December 15.  According to a statement by Hamas two days after the attack, Zawahri was a member of the organization's military wing and one of the leaders of its drone program.

>> Analysis: With killing of Hamas' drone expert, long list of alleged Israeli assassinations grows <<

The investigation into the attack is continuing, Essebsi said on Thursday during a New Year's Day speech. He rejected criticism that the Tunisian government was not doing enough to advance the investigation, adding that the government would not hesitate to turn to the international community once it had collected sufficient evidence.

Essebsi's statement was the highest-level indication that Israel was suspected of involvement in the attack. Hamas has previously pointed the finger at Israel.

Responding to a question about the attack on December 21, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: “If someone was killed in Tunisia, he is not likely to be a peace activist or a Nobel Prize candidate. Israel does what needs to be done to defend its interests.”