Results tagged “Tunisia”
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Terrorists killed one policeman and injured another in Bizerte; authorities arrested 11 Salafists who had attacked a police station. At least eight National Guardsmen and two Islamist militants were killed during a raid on Oct. 22 by security forces on a suspected militant hideout in the central province of Sidi Bouzid. On the second anniversary of national elections, thousands marched in Tunis calling for the Islamist Ennahda government to step down. Protesters torched an Ennahda office in Kef.
The Interior Ministry claimed to have killed nine terrorists and captured four last week in Beja; one of those killed was said to be Ansar al Sharia operative Lotfi Ezzine, a suspect in the assassinations of moderate political leaders Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi. Ezzine was reportedly detained during a raid in Sousse in August. Ongoing military operations against terrorists in the Jebel Chaambi area have produced few arrests. An expert on Islamic groups disputed Prime Minister Lareyedh's recent claim to have "dismantled" Ansar al Sharia, and also said extremists control over 100 mosques in Tunisia.
The Interior Ministry blamed Ansar al Sharia for the killing of two National Guardsmen earlier this week, and said 13 suspects have been killed and one of several holed up in Mount Touayer near Beja was arrested by security forces, who are still pursuing members of the group. About two tons of bomb-making material, along with ammunition and vision equipment, was found in a house rented by the group, which was reportedly planning attacks. Last week security forces were deployed near the Libyan border, after warnings of attacks by armed groups allied with Ansar al-Sharia, and a suspected terrorist was arrested in Kasserine.
Armed Salafists from a group currently being pursued in the mountains attacked a checkpoint in Beja, about 45 miles west of Tunis, killing two National Guardsmen and injuring a third. Another attack was reported yesterday at a post in Jenduba near the Algerian border.
The Islamist Ennahda government agreed to resign, form a caretaker administration, and plan for elections, after months of protests by the secular opposition. President Marzouki said he was waiting for "political good moment" to release a man jailed for insulting Islam, due to concerns about the Salafist reaction. Tunisians have reported hearing nightly explosions across the country over the past several weeks.
Some 300 Tunisian extremists have joined Mokhtar Belmokhtar's Mourabitounes terrorist group, which is said to be asking AQIM, Ansar Dine, and Tunisian terrorist brigades to join it. The group is believed to run training camps in southern Libya. Interior Minister Jeddo said a number of Tunisian girls have returned home pregnant from Syria after performing "sexual jihad" for Islamist fighters there. Since March, the interior ministry has banned 6,000 Tunisians from traveling to Syria and arrested 86 persons suspected of forming recruiting networks for jihad in Syria. A senior security official last month said a "sexual jihad cell" had been broken up in western Tunisia that was offering minor girls to Ansar al Sharia fighters.
The Interior Ministry said security forces killed two members of Ansar al Sharia and arrested two of the militant group's leaders during a raid in a Tunis suburb on Sept. 9. The captured men, Mohamed Aouadi, its alleged military leader, and senior official Mohamed Khiari, were said to be involved in the assassinations of opposition legislators Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi as well as getting Libyan weapons into Tunisia. Security forces say they expect al Qaeda to soon declare Tunisia a "land of jihad" rather than a "land of preaching," and are bracing for attacks.
Tens of thousands in Tunis called for the dissolution of the Islamist Ennahda government, in the largest protest since demonstrations in July over the assassination of opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi. Security forces dismantled a smuggling ring that sent young Tunisians to Libya for terrorist training; 21 people were arrested, including one foreigner. Insecurity is damaging Tunisia's economy.
The Interior Ministry disclosed that the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al Sharia is planning to assassinate 19 prominent Tunisians, including National Constituent Assembly Speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar and Republican Party Secretary-General Maya Jribi. Officials stated that the group is a terrorist organization connected to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the "Okba Ibn Nafaa" terrorist group operating in Mount Chaambi, near the Algerian border. The government announced plans to create "buffer zones" along the Libyan and Algerian borders to protect against "terrorism."
Prime Minister Larayedh accused Ansar al Sharia of involvement in the assassinations of secular Tunisian leaders Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, and said the group would be treated as a terrorist organization. Lareyedh claimed that the government had "discovered proof" of the al Qaeda-linked group's ties to the murders of the two politicians as well as the deaths of soldiers in Mount Chaambi. Opposition protesters are demanding the dissolution of Lareyedh's Islamist government for laxity in dealing with jihadists.
Thousands of protesters from the opposition coalition demonstrated in Tunis, calling for the resignation of the Islamist Ennahda government. The Ennahda ruling shura said it would accept negotiations with the opposition, but the protesters are rejecting the offer of dialogue.