The assassination late last year of a Tunisian aviation engineer with alleged links to Palestinian group Hamas has put the spotlight on Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency suspected of killing Israel’s enemies.
Mohamed al-Zawari was shot dead in December outside his home in Tunisia’s southeastern city of Sfax. Hamas swiftly blamed Israel for the murder, saying the slain engineer had overseen the group’s drone program.
Al-Zawari was the latest in a number of Muslim scientists and activists the self-proclaimed Jewish state is widely believed to have killed in the past.
In 1967, Egyptian nuclear scientist Samir Naguib was killed in a car accident in the U.S. Naguib was reportedly planning to return to Egypt at the height of war with Israel to help launch Egypt’s nuclear program when he was killed.
Another Egyptian nuclear scientist, Yahya al-Mashad, who headed Iraq’s nuclear program, was killed in a Paris hotel room in 1980.
In 1991, Lebanese condensed matter physicist Rammal Hassan Rammal died in mysterious circumstances in France.
In 1993, Egyptian writer Gamal Hemdan died in a fire in his apartment in the Egyptian capital. His relatives, however, claimed he was hit on the head and that the drafts of books he was writing had disappeared, and on top of it was topics about Jews and Zionism.
1997, Mossad agents tried -- and failed -- to kill Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal in Jordan by spraying poison into his ear.
In 2004, Iraqi nuclear scientist Ibrahim al-Dhaheri was shot dead as he was riding a cab in Iraq’s western city of Baquba.
In 2010, Iranian quantum field theorist and elementary-particle physicist Masoud Alimohammadi was shot dead outside his home in Tehran.
Iran accused the U.S. and Israel of killing the scientist, but Washington denied the accusation. Israel, however, did not deny or confirm involvement.
In the same year, Iranian nuclear engineer Majid Shahriari was killed in a car bombing in Tehran.
Mossad is also believed to have been behind the assassination in 2010 of top Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel.
Israel has never confirmed or denied its involvement in any of these murders.
Analysts believe that the killing of Muslim scientists is an Israeli tactic that aims to prevent Muslim countries from getting the nuclear and technological know-how.
“Israelis view Muslims possessing the tools of technology as a danger,” Turkish political analyst Mustafa Ozcan told Anadolu Agency.
“They don’t want Muslims to make a breakthrough in this field, so they target scientists [from Muslim countries like] Egypt, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan,” he said.
The Turkish analyst cited the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in Israeli airstrikes as an example of Israeli attempts to prevent Muslim states from possessing the nuclear know-how.
In mid-1981, Israeli warplanes struck a nuclear reactor being built by Iraq southeast of Baghdad.
“Israel, however, declines to comment on the assassination of Muslim scientists in order to avoid raising this issue at international levels,” Ozcan said.
Hatem al-Zoabi, a Swedish writer of Syrian origin, echoed a similar opinion.
“The murder of Muslim scientists by Mossad aims to prevent their countries from developing their researches,” he told Anadolu Agency.
He opined that Israel “targets any efficient Muslim who could help develop his country in any field”. AA