Tunisia: Salafi chief released after arrest

PM expected to resign; terrorism looms

25 October, 20:58

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, OCTOBER 25 - On a tense, chaotic day in Tunisia during which a suspected jihadist chief was arrested only to later be released, Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh seemed close to resigning. The decision was made in a letter in which he reportedly agreed to resign in compliance with the mediators' 'road map', and thus within the next three weeks. However, on Thursday evening Laarayedh said he would leave office only when the new Constitution worked on for the past two years had been approved, a better electoral law brought in, authorities tasked with election monitoring elected and a date set for elections: all of which will likely require more than a few weeks.

    Meanwhile, at dawn in Sidi Ali Ben Aoun (where seven National Guard officers were recently killed) Al-Khatib Al-Idrissy was captured, a man held to be the head of Tunisian Salafi jihadists and spiritual leader of Ansar Al-Sharia, a group that has been outlawed for acts of terrorism. Al-Idrissy was released in the afternoon. A more serious incident occurred in the afternoon at the Ennasr high school in Tunis's northern suburbs, where a police patrol shot at a group of individuals said to be 'Salafis'. One was killed whose parents have now accused the police of shooting in cold blood, saying the group were simply youths returning in high spirits from a party. Explosives were also found in a tunnel in central Tunis. Security sources played down the incident in a radio interview, but others say that a massive attack was thwarted at the Sheraton Hotel (frequented mainly by foreigners and politicians) and the national TV offices.


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