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."

 

Rouhani seizes opportunity to get closer to Qatar

New crown prince widely welcomed in Saudi Arabia

Banned Bahraini newspaper fires staff

Iraq forces battle deep into devastated Old Mosul

Prime time for Ramadan on Gulf fashion calendar

Mali activists call for referendum to be abandoned

Iraqi forces control two thirds of Mosul Old City

Assad leads Eid prayers in Syria’s Hama

Lone-wolf attacks raise concern about new trend in terror

Erdogan slams Saudi demands of Qatar as illegal

Sudan making 'positive' steps on meeting US sanctions terms

Mecca suicide bombing injures six

Gulf crisis heats up as Qatar receives list of demands

Suicide attacks kill at least three people in Mosul

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Turkish President accused of influencing courts