First Published: 2012-10-03

 

Tunisia president rings alarm: Maghreb becoming 'terrorist' hub

 

Marzouki warns Jihadists pose ‘great danger’ to Maghreb region, which is turning into ‘terrorist’ hub.

 

Middle East Online

‘There is great danger on our doorstep’

TUNIS - Jihadists pose a "great danger" to the Maghreb region, which is turning into a "terrorist" hub, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki warned in an interview with Arabic daily Al-Hayat published Tuesday.

"We can say that the centre for a group of jihadists -- the so-called terrorist movement -- is moving right now from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arab Maghreb region and there is great danger on our doorstep," Marzouki said.

"There is a security problem that threatens the whole Maghreb region," he told the paper in New York, during a visit to the United Nations.

He estimated that there were around 3,000 Islamist militants in his country.

In Tunisia, "the number of active (jihadists) who pose a danger is estimated by the police at around three thousand. They are all known and identified," Marzouki said.

Islamist radicals angered by a US-made film mocking Islam attacked the US embassy in Tunis and an adjacent American school last month, in a day of violence that left four people dead and dozens wounded.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has since cancelled a planned trip to Tunisia next month, amid reported security concerns.

Tunisian police have been searching for Salafist leaders in connection with the embassy attack, notably Seif Allah Ibn Hussein, also known as Abu Iyadh, who heads the hardline group Ansar al-Sharia and has managed to escape arrest several times.

"I ask why Abu Iyadh has not been arrested until now," said Marzouki, a veteran human rights activist with Tunisia's centre-left CPR party, in an apparent swipe at the government dominated by the CPR's Islamist allies Ennahda.

The ruling Islamist party has been strongly criticised for failing to clamp down on Tunisia's Muslim extremists, who have carried out numerous acts of violence since last year's revolution that ousted former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Ennahda's veteran leader Rached Ghannouchi said, in an interview last month, that the extremists were a danger "to public freedom in the country and to its security."

 

Gunman kills prominent writer on steps of courthouse in Jordan

Campaigning for parliamentary polls begins in Morocco

EU mission to train Libya coastguard faces delay

Turkey sets precondition for joining US Raqa operation

Famous archway collapses on Moroccan beach

Death toll from Egypt migrant shipwreck jumps to 168

Warplanes pound Aleppo ahead of UN Syria meeting

Dubai drops charges against Briton who promoted charity

Israel sentences Islamic cleric for incitement

Mosul offensive to start in ‘next few weeks’

New wave of air strikes pummels Aleppo

US, Russia trade blame for collapse of ceasefire in Syria

Hadi vows to ‘extract Yemen from claws of Iran’

Obama vetoes bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia

Morocco asks to rejoin African Union

Air raids pound rebel-held Aleppo

Turkey arrests prominent writer brothers

Egypt shipwreck death toll rises to 133

Gulen says will return to Turkey if US backs extradition

Occupation troops shoot, wound Palestinian with knife

UN eyes alternate aid delivery route for Syria's Aleppo

Iran condemns Saudi strikes in Yemen

Turkey's Erdogan says US arming Syrian Kurds

Obama to block Saudi 9/11 prosecution

Oil prices ease as focus shifts to producers' meeting

Opposition 'minister' among 12 dead in Syria car bomb

'13 dead' in clashes with IS in Libya's Sirte

20 civilians killed in Yemen rebel port raid

Turkish border town hit by rocket fired from Syria

Syria's White Helmets win Swedish human rights prize

UN pleads with Assad over food aid stuck at Syria border

Rouhani jabs USA over nuclear deal in UN address

Dozens more feared dead in Egypt boat tragedy

US breaks 'taboo' on Iran trade, banking

Kuwait MP gets new jail term for insulting Gulf rulers

Kuwait MPs demand urgent debate on petrol price hike

Dozens of rebels leave Homs under deal with Assad regime

Push for Iraq's Mosul faces myriad challenges

US drone strike kills 3 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

UN hopes Syria talks can resume in a 'few weeks'

Iraq forces recapture northern town from ISIS

Greece rejects asylum claim of Turkish 'coup' officer

Raids set rebel areas of Syria's Aleppo ablaze

Yemen rebels accuse detained American of spying

Israel arrests 35 Palestinians in raids