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."

 

Lebanese army launches anti-IS offensive on Syria border

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Police confirm Finland 'terror attack'

UN demands access to Yemen ports

Civilians stay on frontlines despite dangers in Raqa

Low-cost attacks a new reality for Europeans

Forces of Libya's Haftar say commander wanted by ICC in detention

Yemen rebels urged to free political commentator

Iranian footballer breaks silence over ban for playing Israelis

Erdogan meddles in German politics

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land

Turkey arrests 9 more journalists for alleged ‘Gulen links’

Iran’s Karroubi on hunger strike over 6-year house arrest

Saudi Arabia to restart work on Grand Mosque expansion

Algeria reshuffles cabinet, nominates three new ministers

Syria rebels lose heavyweight faction

ICC orders Mali ex-jihadist pay 2.7 m euros for Timbuktu destruction

Libya seeks to ‘organise’ NGOs carrying migrant rescue Ops

More than one million South Sudan refugees in Uganda

Beirut, Damascus pledge to boost economic ties

Two killed on Gaza-Egypt border

Qataris to do hajj on Saudi king expenses

Fire breaks out at UNESCO heritage site in Saudi Arabia

Iran military chief in Turkey for talks on Syrian war