The Tunisian Justice Ministry reportedly claimed Wednesday that one of the suspected operatives behind a 2016 hit on a Hamas-linked engineer attributed to Israel has been arrested in Croatia.
Both Hamas and Hezbollah have accused the Mossad of killing Mohamed Zouari, 49, who was shot to death at the wheel of his car outside his house in the Tunisian port city of Sfax in December 2016.
Hamas claimed last year that Israeli spies used Bosnian passports to enter Tunisia and assassinate Zouari, who also held Belgian citizenship.
Hebrew media reports, citing the Tunisian Justice Ministry source, said the suspect was arrested two months ago in Croatia, but authorities were refusing to extradite him to Tunisia.
Zouari, an aviation engineer and Tunisian national, was confirmed by Hamas to be a central figure in its weapons development. The terror group called him a pioneer in developing its unmanned drones.
Israel has not responded to the accusation by Hamas that it was behind the Tunisian engineer’s death.
However, shortly after the killing, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman insinuated that Zouari was a legitimate target.
“If someone was killed in Tunisia, he’s not likely to be a peace activist or a Nobel Prize candidate,” Liberman said.
“We will continue to do in the best possible way what we know how to do — that is to protect our interests,” Liberman added vaguely.
The news came a week after the Mossad was accused of killing a Hamas rocket expert in Malaysia.
Fadi Mohammad al-Batsh, 35, was killed on Saturday in the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, as he walked to a mosque for dawn prayers, according to Malaysian authorities. His family and Hamas have blamed the hit on Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Israel has denied the claim.