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Terrorism 2013-01-22

Tunisia breaks up terror ring

By Monia Ghanmi for Magharebia in Tunis – 22/01/13

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Eleven Tunisians were among 32 terrorists who carried out the In Amenas attack, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said on Monday (January 21st).

The announcement came four days after Tunisian security services dismantled a terrorist network in the south-eastern area of Medenine, along the border with Libya and Algeria.

The anti-terror unit seized hand grenade capsules, a quantity of TNT explosive material, a group of detonators, anti-tank mines and illumination fireworks. They also confiscated more than 1 kilometre of explosive fuse, 1,800 bullets of two different calibres, Kalashnikov cartridges, goggles, military uniforms, communication devices and mattresses for military training.

The suspects allegedly operated an arms-smuggling ring in several regions of the country.

"Tunisia is apparently turning into a corridor for the passage of Libyan weapons to northern Mali," President Moncef Marzouki said in an interview with France24.

Tunisian jihadists have ties with regional terrorist forces, the president noted.

The Medenine operation, which coincided with the brazen attack on the Algerian gas field, raises the spectre of a growing transnational terror network that seeks to destabilise the region and recruit fighter for Mali.

"The number of Tunisian jihadists is now estimated in thousands, including some fighting in Syria, and some others in Mali," said Mohamed Ben Zikri, a professor of international relations. "This is natural because the salafist groups have taken advantage of disappointment and despair among Tunisian young people, especially those who were released from prisons, to attract and recruit them for terrorist organisations."

He argued that the Tunisian government and society must brace themselves for the jihadists' return to Tunisia "and what can happen after".

Journalist Rim Saidi commented that Tunisia is "one of the biggest countries in exporting terrorism". Tunisian terrorists have been "among the masterminds in al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups", according to Saidi.

Faced with this growing jihadist wave, the government urged all Tunisians and national forces to shoulder their responsibility in countering violence in order to isolate the extremist groups.

It also urged Maghreb countries to unify their security efforts and policies because they are the most affected by the fallout of the Mali crisis.

"We're closely following what's happening in that hornet's nest, as that nest can pose a threat to the security of several countries, including Tunisia," Marzouki said last Saturday.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    toumi 2013-7-31

    We aren't in a movie theater to watch with interest what goes on in front of us Mr. president. We want an efficient act to counter if not eradicate this phenomenon which has come to the country.


  2. Anonymous thumb

    morad 2013-2-26

    This terrorism is just a western play to destroy the religion of Islam and make us fight each other all over the world from east to west. Just observe hot spots and you will understand what I am saying. Thank you!


  3. Anonymous thumb

    sabri hamza 2013-2-5

    The national Algerian army is the best army!


  4. Anonymous thumb

    محمد على 2013-1-30

    The third reason for the proliferation of this ideology is that they are attracted by associations and mosque Imams who spread hatred, aversion, exploit psychological vulnerability, intellectual void, low educational level and their difficult social conditions. These associations are particularly active in poverty belts and marginalized regions exploiting the absence of state control. The fact is that there are about 120 associations active under the cover of social actions but in reality no one knows from where they get their funding. They are active in disseminating Wahhabi ideology. Finally, the state and civil society must handle this phenomenon with seriousness because if it persists, it will destroy the whole state, as whoever bears arms against the state or any other country has received training in the use of different arms and doesn't adhere to state borders but rather believes in the Caliphate state. Therefore, everyone should be mobilized including experts and religious scholars to work hand in hand for protecting the souls and the country from blind violence that destroys everything.


  5. Anonymous thumb

    محمد على 2013-1-30

    The proliferation of Jihadist groups in Tunisia after the revolution, in exploitation of the state's weakness and the security forces' inability of monitoring them, is due to three main factors. The first factor is the Salafists' control, especially Jihadist and Takfririst Salafism, over mosques, while the ministry of religious affairs doesn't react or put a game plan to raise young people's awareness of moderate Malikite doctrine, especially because most Tunisians consider this ideology brought to them from the Najd Sahara and goes back to Wahhabism. They also consider Jihadists a foreign body to the Tunisian society. The second factor is the conspiracy of Ennahda Movement, especially its radical side led by their chief Rached Ghannouchi and the other eagles such as Ben Salem and Habib Khidreddine who consider this an opportunity to preach Islam. (They consider that Bourguiba had removed from Tunisia the cover of Islam and dropped it in the furnace of the Western infidels). So God has empowered them to change the pattern of society and this is their opportunity to strengthen and make Salafism with its different forms the military wing to strike various rivals. The third reason is...