In our report on Friday’s press conference in Tunisia, during which the interior minister alleged that a longtime jihadist and members of Ansar al Sharia were connected to two high-profile assassinations this year, I was going to note that it was probably only a matter of hours until Ansar al Sharia responded. And indeed it was. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia has posted the statement above on its Facebook page and Twitter feed.
The group denies any involvement in the assassinations of two opposition politicians, saying it isn’t concerned with the political process, which it calls illegitimate. The only acceptable way forward, according to the group, is to implement sharia law. And the group adds that the recent allegations are intended to tarnish the Salafi jihadist movement or trend within Tunisia.
Even if the Tunisian government’s allegations are correct, we wouldn’t expect the group to come right out and accept responsibility, however. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia has many reasons to deny any role, as culpability for the assassinations would certainly complicate the organization’s plan for winning popular support.
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