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Four Radicals Held over Tunisian Politician’s Murder - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Newly appointed Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laaraiedh addresses reporters during a press conference held in Tunis, Tunisia, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP)

Newly appointed Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laaraiedh addresses reporters during a press conference held in Tunis, Tunisia, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. (AP)

Tunis, Asharq Al-Awsat—Four Radical Salafist Muslims have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the murder of a Tunisian opposition leader, authorities in Tunis revealed yesterday.

According to Tunisian State Television, four men were detained on suspicion of being involved in the assassination of the Tunisian veteran socialist politician Chokri Belaid, while the perpetrator is still being pursued by security forces, Tunisian Prime Minister-designate and Interior Minister Ali Laaraiedh said in a news conference.

“The case is still under investigation; as a ministry we adhere to what the law says on the secrecy of the investigation”, Laaraiedh said, noting that he could not reveal details that would impact the investigation.

“We managed to limit suspicions to a group of individuals,” he said. He added that the murder scene was “under surveillance days before the crime “by the group that carried out the attack. Four suspects have been detained, and one admitted to “driving the killer” on the day of the attack to the building where Belaid lived and where he was shot.

“The perpetrator is known and is currently being pursued by the security forces,” Laaraiedh added.
He said that they belonged to a “hardline religious current”, also commonly referred to as “hardline Salafists”. He added that their ages varied between 26 and 34 years, and that they were Tunisians.

Laaraiedh maintained that the investigation was ongoing and thus no further details could be revealed.
Belaid’s daylight killing on February 6 sparked deadly street protests and strikes and exposed the widening fissures between the ruling Islamists and liberals.

It also threw Tunisia into its worst political crisis since the revolution two years ago that ousted strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The crisis also led to the resignation of Tunisian premier Hamadi Jebali, after his own party Ennahda dismissed his proposal to form a government of technocrats.

Laaraiedh, also an Ennahda member, was named on Friday to replace Jebali. He has until March 8 to form a new government, which he has vowed will be “for all Tunisians”.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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