Tunisians protest assassination of Hamas engineer
Tunisians protest against Israel on Tuesday (Fethi Belaid/AFP)
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Tunisians have taken to the streets to express their anger over the killing of a Tunisian engineer on 15 December.
Mohamed Zouari was an aviation expert for the military wing of Palestinian militant Islamist organization Hamas. He was shot multiple times outside his house last Thursday.
It has been alleged that the Israeli secret service Mossad carried out the assassination of Zouari, who manufactured drones used in the 2014 Gaza conflict.
The Tunisian interior minister has said that while "it is possible that a foreign service is implicated... we do not yet have any tangible proof." Ten Tunisians have so far been arrested in connection with the murder.
Protesters in Tunis, including politicians, activists and student union representatives, called for more action from their government, and reiterated their commitment to the Palestinian cause.
“I do not understand where our government is. This man is a scientist; he has been killed in our country and no serious reaction has been taken,” one protester told Middle East Eye. “This is very dangerous ... [it] violates our sovereignty.”
Tunisians also expressed their discontent on social media, using the hashtag “pilot of Palestine”.
Protests in the center of #Tunis a short while ago to condemn the assassination of the engineer Mohamed Zouari.
عزيزتي فلسطين، هذا "طيار فلسطين" تونسي حلق في فضاء القضية الفلسطينية وكل الشعب التونسي من الأرض إلى السماء— Mmaajjddoouulliine (@Mmaajjddoouull1) December 20, 2016
My dear Palestine, this “pilot of Palestine” raised high the Palestinian cause, and all Tunisian people from the Earth to the Heavens are with you.
أنشودة شهيد مقاومة الإحتلال الصهيوني (حماس) وثورة الحرية والكرامة المهندس الطيار محمد الزواريhttps://t.co/CapQbJtiT5— أبو يعرب المرزوقي (@Abou_Yaareb) December 18, 2016
A song for the martyr of the resistance of the Zionist occupation (Hamas) and the revolution of freedom and dignity, the aviation engineer Mohamed Zouari.
Such is the strength of Tunisian sadness over the death of Zouari, that a large poster mourning his “martyrdom” has been erected in the center of Sfax, the Tunisian city where he was killed.
While pro-Palestinian feeling is strong among Tunisians, official policy in the country has been ambiguous in the past, as the government tries to balance its political interests. A bill that would have criminalized the normalization of relations between Tunisia and Israel was not incorporated into the 2014 constitution, despite its popularity in the north african nation.