Tunisian Salafist group ‘terrorists’

AFP-JIJI

Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh on Tuesday accused Tunisia’s main Salafist movement of coordinating with al-Qaida and carrying out “terrorist” attacks that have rocked the country since the 2011 revolution, including two political assassinations.

Ansar al-Sharia “is responsible for the assassinations of (Chokri) Belaid and (Mohammed) Brahmi, as well as our martyrs in the police and the national army,” Larayedh told a news conference, referring to the two politicians killed in separate attacks in February and July.

“We have decided to class Ansar al-Sharia as a ‘terrorist organization,’ ” he said, claiming that it was working with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the jihadist network’s North African affiliate. Larayedh’s moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, which heads the ruling coalition, has been heavily criticized for not doing enough to prevent waves of violence blamed on the extremists.