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SECOND TUNISIAN OPPOSITION LEADER, MOHAMED BRAHMI, ASSASSINATED.

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* Mohamed  Brahmi, Tunisia’s opposition politician, has been shot dead in Tunis in front of his house  in Ariana, on Thursday 07/25/2013 morning.

It was not yet clear who had assassinated Mohamed  Brahmi, who was also a member of parliament. Mohamed  Brahmi was from the People Movement party, part of the same coalition as Chokri Belaid, a prominent secular politician who was assassinated in February 2013 (see – Belaid’s assassination ). “He was riddled with bullets in front of his wife and children,” Mohsen Nabti, a fellow member of the small leftist movement, said in a tearful account on Tunisian radio.

On Wednesday, Noureddin B’Hiri, senior adviser to the prime minister, said that six people believed to have orchestrated Belaid’s killing had been identified. “We have identified the sponsors and the authors of the assassination of Chokri Belaid,” B’Hiri said after a cabinet meeting.

The interior ministry blamed the killing of Belaid, who was an outspoken critic of Jebali’s ruling Ennahda party, on a cell of “radical Islamists”. In April, the government released the photos and names of five suspects and appealed for help in arresting them.

Since the Jasmine Revolution that toppled the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, “hardline Islamists” have been blamed for numerous acts of violence, notably an attack on the US embassy last September that left four assailants dead and the killing of Belaid.

The attack is the latest event in the ongoing struggle between “Islamists”  and secular Nationalists about the future of the Arab societies after the so called “Arab Spring” (see – New Arab-World ).

 

* In a live broadcast, on Friday 07/26/2013, interior minister Ben Jeddou said that Mohamed  Brahmi was killed with the same gun as fellow leftist Chokri Belaid and that  a  Salafist  is one of the main suspects involved in the killing. Investigations pointed to Boubaker el-Hakim (pic), a Salafist radical already being sought on suspicion of smuggling weapons from Libya, as the main suspect, he said.

Another man, Lutfi al-Zayn, was also mentioned as a suspect in the killing – both members of a 14-man group. Six other people were also being sought in connection with the assassination, it was announced.
* Tunisia has designated the hardline Salafist Ansar Al-Sharia-Tun , a “terrorist group”, blaming it for the killing of two secular politicians. PM Ali Larayedh said, on 08/27/2013,  he had proof it was behind the killings of Shokri Belaid and Mohamed  Brahmi, which plunged Tunisia into political turmoil.

Mr Larayedh also said the group was supporting an armed jihadist cell which the Tunisian army has been hunting for months in the remote Mount Chaambi region along the Algerian border.

The Tunisian army launched an offensive in the region last month after eight soldiers were ambushed, on 07/29/2013, and killed by gunmen suspected of links to Al Qaeda.

 

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