Mohamed Zouari was only six years old when the October 1973 War broke out.
He had just started primary school, and a severe case of asthma had taken a toll on his fragile body. His mother would carry him to school on her back every day and wait around to take him home.
Four decades later, that same boy transformed into a skilled engineer.
For 20 years, however, Zouari had travelled the world. He returned to his home country of Tunisia to follow his dream of getting an engineering degree that bore his real name in his homeland.
But he only succeeded in achieving part of the dream.
The other part, however, was shattered by a fatal gunshot wound, just a few months before defending his doctoral thesis, which included his graduation project and the invention of an unmanned aircraft.
The Palestinian cause
Zouari’s inventions represented an opportunity to link his name to the Palestinian cause, which he passionately believed in.
A statement from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas, issued just a day after the commencement of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on 7 October, thrust Zouari into the spotlight.
The statement revealed that Hamas had employed 35 Zouari suicide drones across all fronts, effectively paving the way for their fighters to penetrate the occupied territories.
It was through this revelation that many came to know who engineer Zouari was, akin to how Tunisians first became acquainted with him on 15 December 15, 2016, when he was gunned down in front of his own in Tunisia.
Hamas accused the Israeli Mossad of orchestrating this assassination, emphasising Zouari's leadership role, his supervision of projects like the Ababil aircraft and drone initiatives, and a remotely piloted submarine project.
At the time, the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior accused a foreign intelligence service of being behind the assassination of Al Zouari. According to the official Tunisian account of what happened, 11 people were involved in planning and executing the operation, including three Tunisians and eight foreigners.
The operation was planned outside of Tunisia and huge sums of money were involved.