Results tagged “Tunisia”
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One of two Tunisian diplomats recently kidnapped in Libya appeared in a video released by a Libyan militant group, Chabab Tawhid ("Youth of Unification"), begging the Tunisian government to negotiate for his release. The kidnappers are demanding the release of Islamists arrested after attacks in Rouhia in 2011. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia issued a statement of solidarity with protesters in Rouhia who had attacked police following the April 7 arrest of 16 extremists, including some who had fought in Iraq and Syria. A negotiator for the kidnappers claimed that two al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb prisoners whose freedom is demanded are innocent.
One soldier was killed and another injured when their vehicle hit a landmine in the Mount Chaambi area, shortly after security forces clashed with terrorists there. Additional areas around Mount Chaambi were declared closed military zones two days ago. Foreign Affairs Minister Hamdi said the kidnappers of a Tunisian diplomat abducted yesterday in Libya are linked to members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who were detained in Tunisia for attacks against security forces in Rouhia in 2011. The government plans to try to negotiate for the diplomat's release with the kidnappers, who are demanding the release of Islamist prisoners.
Six policemen have been injured in Rouhia in the Siliana governorate during ongoing clashes between the banned group Ansar al Sharia and security forces, since the arrest of at least 16 Salafist extremists a few days ago. The Air Force bombed a terrorist camp in the forests of Mount Chaambi in Kasserine. Earlier, security forces encountered two roadside bombs in the Chaambi area.
Security forces arrested 16 "religious extremists" in Rouhia in the Siliana governorate yesterday; they reportedly included former fighters from wars in Iraq and Syria. Clashes broke out during the raids, which targeted extremist groups linked to Ansar al Sharia. The US recently pledged $500 million in loan guarantees to Tunisia.
Authorities arrested eight members of Ansar al Sharia following the arrest of two bomb makers involved in a premature detonation in the Sfax suburb of El Ain on April 5. The Ansar al Sharia cell was reportedly planning to attack "vital institutions in the city of Sfax." Deputy Interior Minister Sfar said nearly 1,800 Tunisians are fighting in Syria and claimed that the government cannot stop them from doing so. He also said Tunisian fighters returning from Syria can take advantage of an amnesty policy as long as they have not killed anyone.
Security forces have arrested four wanted "religious extremists" during operations in Menzel Jemil in the coastal province of Bizerte. Tourism Minister Karboul said Tunisia will not issue visas to individual Israeli tourists. Last week the US lifted its travel warning for Tunisia that had been in place since Sept. 15, 2012, the day after Ansar al Sharia's attack on the US Embassy in Tunis.
Police and Salafists clashed in Kairouan after the Religious Affairs Ministry decided to replace two imams in the town. Security forces in Kasserine have arrested a suspected terrorist logistician linked to Jebel Chaambi terrorists. A bomb was found during a Sufi festival in Souk Lahad. A court sentenced Imed Dghi, a leader in the League for the Protection of the Revolution (LPR), to eight months in prison for threatening authorities and encouraging violence.
A letter from the emir of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, Seifallah Hassine a.k.a. Abou Iyadh, was published on its website yesterday, urging young members to be steadfast despite efforts by security forces against the group. The retrial of 20 persons suspected in the attack on the US Embassy in Tunis on September 2012 is likely to be delayed. Four suspected terrorists stole four solar collectors from a solar energy research facility in north Jendouba on March 21.
Terrorists and National Guard officers exchanged gunfire at a customs facility in Kef. Security forces killed three terrorists and arrested six more during a March 17 raid on a house in Jendouba; two soldiers were wounded during the raid, and weapons and an explosive belt were found. Two soldiers were wounded in a clash with two terrorists in Sidi Bouzid that same day. The night before, police stopped a taxi carrying "four Salafists" to Souk El Jomaa, where the "Cell of Souk Jomaa" is based.
The Interior Ministry said three people were arrested over the weekend for assisting a terrorist group in the mountains of Jendouba. President Marzouki ended the three-year state of emergency on March 5; Prime Minister Jomaa has announced new coordination on counterterrorism between army, National Guard, and security units, but warned of the continuing threat posed by Tunisian fighters returning from Syria.
Ansar al Sharia Tunisia issued a statement denouncing France's peacekeeping efforts in the Central African Republic and calling on wealthy Muslims to aid their Muslim brothers in CAR, whom they described as victims of "the Crusader war against Islam." Following the arrest last week of a Tunisian national returning from Libya with a pistol at Ras Jedir, the border crossing was briefly closed. A Tunisian press watchdog said 35 journalists were attacked in 31 assaults in the country during the month of February alone.
Interior Minister Jeddou said some 400 Tunisian fighters have returned from Syria, and claimed that the government has prevented 8,000 Tunisians from going there. An estimated 5,000 Tunisians are said to be fighting in Syria. President Marzouki's office is reportedly considering an integration and amnesty policy for returning fighters. Vandals damaged the Sidi Bakai mausoleum in Jedaid on Feb. 23.
Army units on Mount Chaambi are investigating the source of a loud explosion heard yesterday. The day before, a roadside bomb detonated near an armored vehicle on Mount Chaambi. A TV show on a private channel has sparked controversy for airing views of terrorists and their associates, including the father of recently slain Kamel Gadhgadhi, a suspect in the assassination of Chokri Belaid.
Over 1,000 Tunisians rallied in Jendouba yesterday to protest the Feb. 16 terror attack that killed four people. The president of the National Constituent Assembly called the attack an attempt to destabilize the country. France urged its nationals to avoid the border governorates of Jendouba, le Kef, and Kasserine. The car used by the five terrorists was spotted in Souani in North Jendouba on the day of the attack. Visiting in Tunis, US Secretary of State Kerry praised President Marzouki's "rational thoughtful approach."
Five Islamist gunmen disguised as security officials killed three Tunisian policemen and a civilian after setting up a roadblock in Jendouba governorate near the Algerian border. The militants also wounded two policemen and a prison official, and stole identification papers, cash, weapons and a vehicle. A terrorist cell near Souk Ejjomaa village is suspected in the attack. Three of the attackers were said to be Tunisians and the other two were foreigners. Tunisian security forces have been battling Ansar al Sharia in the region.
The Interior Ministry said identity checks of niqab-wearing persons will be enforced, following security warnings that terrorists are wearing them to escape detection and the arrest of one such person in Ariana this week. Two people were killed in Sidi Bouzid when a police station was attacked on Feb. 11. President Marzouki condemned the recent coup attempt in Libya. Authorities in Tunis forced Islamist extremists who were selling jihadist material near al-Fath Mosque to vacate the site.
The Interior Ministry said four "very dangerous" terrorists were arrested last night in Borj Luzir in Ariana governorate. During the raid targeting suspects in the murders of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, one terrorist and two security force members were injured. Those arrested were: Ahmed Melki a.k.a. "the Somali," Bilel Amdouni, Mounir Jemaii, and Ameur Zediri, but not Aboubaker Hakim, the alleged prime suspect.
Interior Minister Jeddou has claimed that security forces killed Kamel Gadhgadhi, a senior Ansar al-Sharia member and the murderer of liberal politician Chokri Belaid, during an operation on Feb. 4 in which six other terrorists were killed and a large weapons cache was confiscated. Belaid's widow Basma Khalfaoui said the timing of the claim was suspicious coming on the one-year anniversary of the assassination, termed Gadhgadhi a mere "tool ... the weakest link in a chain of an entire terrorist organization," and called for the arrest of those behind the attack. Jeddou also claimed that in 2013, Tunisian authorities tried 1,347 people on terrorism-related charges, and prevented over 8,000 young men and women from traveling to Syria for jihad. The Defence Ministry said bombardment is continuing in Jebel Chaambi.
Seven Islamist militants and a policeman were killed during a clash when security forces tried to arrest the militants at a residence in Raoued; one militant was arrested and weapons, explosives, and suicide belts were found. Police had tried first to negotiate.
The appellate trial of 20 Salafists accused of participating in the Sept. 14, 2012 attack on the US Embassy in Tunis was postponed until March 25, after only three of the accused showed up for trial. Their defense lawyer alleged that embassy staff might have been responsible for the deaths of four attackers.