Results tagged “Tunisia”
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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.
Security forces have besieged an area in Kasserine near the Algerian border after reports of the presence of armed groups. The ruling Islamist Ennahda party agreed to meet with the opposition "without conditions" to try to resolve the current political impasse. Captured terrorist Mohamed Habib Al-Omri told authorities that the killing of eight Tunisian soldiers last month in Jebel Chaambi was carried out by a group of 16 militants from Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Nigeria.
The military bombed caves in the Mount Chaambi area in an effort to flush out Islamist militants. Security forces claimed to have killed six terrorists and captured at least four more. On Aug. 7 security forces arrested Mohamed Habib Al-Omri, 23, along with two comrades near Kasserine; his cellphone allegedly contained film of the terrorist operation in which eight Tunisian soldiers were murdered last month.
The opposition announced plans to propose a cabinet of independent ministers next week. An unverified statement by wanted Ansar al Sharia leader Abou Iyadh to Tunisian Islamic scholars appeared on social media outlets. Interior Minister Jeddou said security forces recently arrested several terrorists in the Mount Chaambi area, but did not disclose their names. Police detained four militant Salafists during raids in Monastir.
Security forces arrested a Salafist tied to the September 2012 attack on the US Embassy, and also arrested a terrorist linked to the assassination of secular leader Chokri Belaid. Several Tunisian politicians and journalists said they have recently received assassination threats. A report estimated that there are 50 active and sleeper terrorist cells in the country, with 600 to 700 members. The report also said that of roughly 600 Tunisian foreign fighters with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, about 200 are in Algeria, Mali, and Libya; 300 are fighting in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Egypt; and 100 others are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The report alleged that AQIM's Tunisian foreign fighters were waiting for a signal from al Qaeda to return home to fight.
About 150,000 supporters of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party rallied in Tunis. Special forces shot and killed a terrorist in Tunis; four other terrorists were arrested in the raid. Special forces foiled an assassination attempt against a political official in Sousse; two terrorists were arrested and a third suspect fled. A Salafist in possession of military uniforms was arrested in Sousse; three more Salafists were arrested after they tried to steal a police officer's weapon. Customs officials prevented the infiltration of three Salafists from Libya. The military denied reports it had killed six terrorists and captured four in the Jebel Chaambi area; a soldier was killed by a landmine today. Some military sources claim that Islamist militants are launching an intensified campaign against the country's security forces.
A fake bomb placed near a colonel's home in Tunis today was accompanied by a letter, purportedly from al Qaeda, demanding the army halt its antiterrorist operation in the Jebel Chaambi area. In separate incidents, one suspected Islamist militant was killed and another was injured and captured, when bombs they were making detonated prematurely. Protesters rallied in several cities across Tunisia this week in support of the military's efforts against terrorism.
The Tunisian military said it launched a "huge operation" from Kasserine against al Qaeda-linked militants in the Jebel Chaambi area, and claimed the terrorist group is surrounded. Algeria said it would support but not intervene in Tunisian territory against the group, which is said to be heavily armed and to include Libyans, Tunisians, and Algerians. The extremist group Ansar al Sharia continues to operate freely in Tunisia, although it has been accused of assassinating two key secular politicians this year. Critics are questioning the structure and operations of Tunisia's intelligence agency.