Results tagged “Tunisia”
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The Interior Minister offered to resign, and Tunisia's largest labor union called for the dissolution of the government. The ruling Islamist Ennahda party said it was willing to form a unity government but not to dissolve the constituent assembly. The government in emergency session yesterday urged the return of over 60 members of the constituent assembly who had withdrawn in protest. The National Guard warned of security threats "that may involve advanced, systematic terrorist attacks, such as bombings targeting public spaces, public means of transportation and some state structures."
Suspected Islamist militants ambushed Tunisian security forces in the Mount Chaambi area, killing at least eight soldiers. The Tunisian military has been pursuing al Qaeda-linked militants in the area for months without success. Prime Minister Laarayedh refused to resign, despite opposition calls for him to do so; some 50 members of the national assembly have resigned in protest against the Islamist Ennahda government's failure to provide security in the country.
The government named Salafi extremist Boubaker Hakim as the prime suspect in the assassination yesterday of secular politician Mohamed Brahmi, and claimed that the weapon used was the same that killed secular politician Chokri Belaid in February. Officials said four members of a 14-member al Qaeda cell to which Hakim belongs have been arrested but Hakim remains at large.
Thousands protested after secular Tunisian politician Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead in front of his wife and children today in Tunis. The trade unions head has predicted a "bloodbath." The assassination resembles that of secular political leader Chokri Belaid, who was killed in front of his home on Feb. 6; yesterday the government said it had identified six people involved in Belaid's killing and would "soon" reveal details. Authorities plan to deport Mauritanian cleric Mustapha Weld Beb Ahmed Chinguiti, a Salafist arrested in Bardo with ties to extremist groups there. Ansar al Sharia is increasingly active in Tunisia. Prime Minister Larayedh admitted on July 22 that despite ongoing security operations in the Jebel Chaambi area against al Qaeda-linked militants, no arrests have been made there. Algeria has warned that Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Signed in Blood Brigade might conduct operations in Tunisia.
After Salafists attacked the performance of a play last week in El Kef about the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, police arrested 19 of the play's actors for "indecent behavior." The prosecutor has asked police to investigate the incident to see whether the charges, which can lead to six months in prison, will be pressed. The Salafist attackers were not arrested.
President Marzouki replaced Othman Battikh, former Mufti of the Republic, with controverisal cleric Hamda Saied, who is said to favor polygamy, which has been banned in Tunisia since 1956. Critics of the move said Battikh was dismissed because of his denunciation of calls for jihad in Syria. The President appointed Brigadier General Mohamed Salah Hamdi to head the army, filling the vacancy left by the resignation of General Rachid Ammar last month.
Salem Abid, a Salafist who was previously convicted of making explosives and trying to escape from prison, was provisionally released while his case is on appeal. A court postponed its verdict in the appeal of Tunisian feminist Amina Sboui, a member of FEMEN, who is being held on charges of spray-painting a cemetery wall, possessing a tear gas canister, and immoral conduct.
In the wake of the overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt, two major opposition parties, Nidaa Tounes and the Popular Front, have called for the dissolution of the Tunisian government; the Popular Front is also demanding the replacement of the National Constituent Assembly, alleging that the NCA "lost its legitimacy after being dominated by the Ennahdha party and its allies." A spokesman for the ruling Islamist party Ennahda claimed that his party was more democratic and open to cooperation than Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. France offered Tunisia $640 million to help with its transition to democracy, and said the country was "head[ed] in the right direction."
The leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi, condemned the overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt as a "flagrant coup" and deplored the arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders. President Marzouki's party, the secularist Congress for the Republic, also condemned the "military coup."