The Tunisian government said in a post on Facebook that “the latest findings” of its investigation into the murder “have proven that foreign elements were involved.”
Tunisian authorities which detained eight people, in connection with the assassination, stressed that they were “determined to protect all Tunisian citizens and to pursue those guilty of carrying out assassination inside and outside” the country.
All the detainees are Tunisians and authorities are searching for a Belgian national of Moroccan origin. The deceased’s brother, Radwan Zawahri, said there have been death threats before the assassination.
Palestinian group Hamas mourned Zawahri’s death and its armed wing al-Qassam Martyrs Brigade said he had worked with the “resistance” group for 10 years. Hamas held Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, responsible of the assassination and described the act as a “Zionist treachery” that would be revenged. “The enemy must know the blood of the leader Zawahri will not go in vain,” Hamas said.
Zawahri was a drone expert and is said to have registered for doctoral studies at Sfax’s school of engineering. He was planning to focus his thesis research on remote-controlled submarines.
Israel has neither denied nor affirmed its role in the assassination plot, in line with its policy of keeping silent whenever an alleged assassination is believed to be carried out by Mossad.
Zawahri has been credited with the development of the Gaza-based Hamas drone program. The group believes his assassination is a warning from Israel to Arab and Muslim countries.
The Tunisian Ennahda Movement strongly condemned the killing through its leader Rached Ghannouchi who said, “international satanic forces” were behind the plot.
The 49 year old engineer was gunned down on Thursday and was buried on Saturday.