Results tagged “Tunisia”
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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.
The National Constituent Assembly approved the new constitution by an overwhelming majority vote. Prime Minister-designate Mehdi Jomaa announced the names for his caretaker cabinet, which will include Lotfi Ben Jeddou, an Ennahda party member who will continue as Interior Minister.
Customs authorities said the fact that some 5,000 Libyans entered Tunisia at Ras Jedir yesterday had nothing to do with security problems and was likely due to school holidays. Security authorities also dismissed reports of terrorist infiltration from Algeria into Ain Soltane in Jendouba. Efforts to obtain asylum in Sweden for Jaber Majeri, who has been jailed for publishing cartoons deemed insulting to Islam, have stalled.
The Interior Ministry denied reports that a foreign intelligence agency has warned it that 450 mercenaries have infiltrated into Tunisia to conduct terrorist attacks. Border guards found 190,000 "hunting cartridges" in a van in Gabes governorate. The NCA recently passed a law granting compensation to victims of repression and Islamists in particular.
Abu Iyadh, the wanted leader of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, expressed support for al Qaeda's Syrian affiliates, the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. A coalition of religious groups demanded changes in the draft constitution as it allegedly violated the principles of Islam. A Tunisian judges' group slammed an Ennahda amendment that would allow the president to appoint members of the high court.
The US Embassy issued a warning to US citizens in Tunisia after the recent designation of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia as a terrorist group. On the night of Jan. 8 and morning of Jan. 9, protesters torched a police station in Sidi Bouzid, and violent protests also took place in Manouba. Calm was restored in Kasserine, Tala, and Feriana on Jan. 9.
Prime Minister Laarayedh announced his resignation but said he would oversee the government until a new one is formed. Two armed terrorist groups infiltrating into Kasserine last night retreated after clashing with security forces. The Interior Ministry is seeking the arrest of Algerian terrorist Khaled Chaïeb a.k.a. Lokmane Abou Sakhr, said to be hiding in Kasserine; he is linked to the murder of national guardsmen in the Chaambi area. The national guard launched raids in Chaambi and in the forests of Ghardimaou in Jendouba.
The Tunisian military bombed Islamist militant hideouts in Mount Chaambi on Jan. 5; the defense minister said between 25 and 30 militants are operating in the area near the Algerian border. The International Crisis Group recently warned that Tunisia is losing control over its border areas near Algeria and Libya, which have become hotbeds for extremists, jihadists, and criminals. Political parties, including the ruling Ennahda party, which has promised to step down, are trying to complete the transition to a caretaker government by Jan. 14. The Congress approved an amendment to the draft constitution banning "accusations of apostasy and incitement to violence."
Debate on the draft constitution was suspended when a deputy from the leftwing Popular Front said he had received death threats after a hardline Ennahda MP publicly denounced him as "an enemy of Islam." Tunisian MPs adopted language yesterday that said Islam was the state religion but promised freedom of conscience and rejected the idea that Islam be the main source of law.
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 .