Results tagged “Tunisia”
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Prime Minister Bhiri said yesterday that "[t]here is no relation between the reinforcement of security measures in the country and the information regarding the arrest of Ansar-Shariaa leader Abu Iyadh." Although Tunisian state media has reported Iyadh's capture, the US has denied involvement. The Foreign Ministry flatly denied the existence of US military bases on Tunisian territory near the Algerian border, which was alleged in a Dec. 30 Algerian media report .
Both Ansar al Sharia Tunisia and the US Embassy in Tunisia denied reports that Seifallah Hassine, the leader of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, was captured by US forces in Libya. Police arrested seven Salafists in Kasserine yesterday who distributed leaflets banning New Year's celebrations and threatening bakeries.
Police seized $2.3 million worth of gold on Dec. 27 while searching for militants and weapons at a checkpoint on a main road near the town of Al-Miknassi, which is close to Sidi Bouzid, a terrorist hotspot. Authorities would not say whether the gold was linked to terrorism, although the checkpoints have been set up due to fears of attacks by Islamist militants around the New Year. A Tunisian security expert warned that 300 Ansar al-Sharia "emirs" who have received weapons training in Libya are preparing to enter Tunisian territory to assume command of terrorist groups. The new emirs, said to include Libyans, Tunisians, Algerians, and Malians and to be armed with sophisticated weapons, recently swore allegiance to Ansar al Sharia. Yesterday the Interior Ministry dismissed reports that a bomb was found in the capital, and Tunisair denied social media reports that one of its planes had crashed into the sea.
The US ambassador denied the existence of any US military bases in Tunisia, but said al Qaeda-linked groups such as Ansar al Sharia continue to threaten Tunisia. At a gathering yesterday in Sidi Bouzid marking the third anniversary of the start of the Tunisian revolution, the outlawed group Ansar al Sharia and an allied organization, Hizb ut Tahrir, carried banners calling for the imposition of sharia law, the return of the Islamic caliphate, and the release of terrorist detainees, and distributed leaflets demanding that Ansar al Sharia no longer be deemed a terrorist group and that the Terrorism Act be rescinded. The Interior Ministry had warned Ansar al Sharia that it faced prosecution if it appeared at the Sidi Bouzid gathering. Authorities are becoming concerned that hundreds and perhaps thousands of Tunisian youth have been recruited for jihad in Syria and elsewhere.
Mehdi Jomaa, the industry minister, was named the new prime minister of Tunisia's caretaker government, replacing Prime Minister Lareyedh. Ansar al Sharia called for its male supporters to join in protests tomorrow in Tunis on the third anniversary of the self-immolation of a street vendor that marked the beginning of the Tunisian revolution.
Mustapha Filali, who was designated yesterday as Tunisia's new prime minister to replace Prime Minister Lareyedh, announced that he would not accept the position; he is 92 years old. A Salafist terrorist was arrested in Tazarka. A secret arms depot supervised by Libyans and Tunisians was discovered in a region near the Algerian border.
The UGTT union chief said Tunisia's political parties have chosen a new prime minister, whose name will be announced tomorrow, to replace Prime Minister Lareyedh. The ruling Islamist Ennahda party has agreed to step aside after a cabinet is named, a constitution is drafted, and elections are slated.
A news outlet has claimed that Ansar al Sharia may use female suicide bombers in forthcoming attacks. Security forces have recently arrested "many young people" in possession of pictures and leaflets of Osama bin Laden and Ansar al Sharia leader Abou Iyadh. Authorities refused to pardon Jabeur Mejri, who was imprisoned last year for posting Prophet Mohammed cartoons on his Facebook page; the Minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice said that "[i]nsulting the Prophet could not be considered as an act of free speech" in Tunisia.
An army captain was killed and another soldier was injured when a landmine planted by Islamist militants exploded on Mount Chaambi. The National Constituent Assembly is considering the reintroduction of habous, a set of Islamic laws dismantled in 1956 that ensures property is not transferred outside a family but may be given to religious and charitable institutions. Authorities recently arrested El Haj Etounssi, an international weapons smuggler who has helped arm and finance al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
A Tunis court has postponed until Jan. 28, 2014 the appeals trial of 20 persons suspected of involvement in the Sept. 14, 2012 attack on the US Embassy in Tunis. The prosecution and the defense had each appealed the May 28 decision to give the suspects two-year suspended sentences. The al Qaeda-linked group Ansar al Sharia is suspected in the attack; one of its operatives, but not ringleader Seifallah ben Hassine (a.k.a. Abu Iyad al Tunisi ), has been arrested.
In Silania, hundreds of protesters attacked the police and the national guard headquarters, injuring 50 police officers. Protesters stormed the local governorate building in Gafsa and set fire to the offices of the ruling Ennahda and CPR parties. The motive for the protests was said to be unclear and no arrests were made. A year ago over 300 protesters were injured in clashes with police in Silania.