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."

 

Iran sees Syria talks as opportunity to gain influence

Arab Israelis strike in protest over house demolitions

Explosions in Gaza target Fatah member

UN expert tells Saudi to end ban on women driving

More than 20 firefighters feared dead in Tehran building collapse

Trump to retain envoy to anti-IS coalition

Desalination plant opens in Gaza to tackle water crisis

Syria’s Assad hopes rebels disarm after Astana talks

UN says 400,000 Syrian child refugees in Turkey not in school

Libya PM skips Davos to focus on electricity crisis

Greece, Cyprus insist peace deal must include Turkish withdrawal

Mistura to lead UN delegation at Astana Syria talks

Turkey slams French satire song about Istanbul attack

Saudi minister says kingdom to become ‘softer’ after reforms

Bahrain lifts ban on electronic Al-Wasat newspaper

Kuwait upholds sentence for three royals for insulting judges

Tunisia facing mounting calls against jail-for-joint law

Iran's oldest high-rise building on fire collapses

IMF says Egypt on track for next aid tranche

Bahrain police disperse Shiite protesters

Key Syria rebel group opts out of Astana peace talks

Moroccan Sufi ‘living master’ dies at 95

France says Iraqi jihadist among 2015 stadium bombers

Russia, Turkey stage first joint air strikes against IS in Syria

IS advances on terrified citizens of Syria’s Deir Ezzor

In path to greater executive power, Erdogan faces weak Turkey economy

Switzerland drops war crimes case against former Algerian defence minister

Patience wears thin in Iraq's Fallujah

Iraq forces 'liberate' eastern Mosul

New UN chief stresses importance of Syria peace talks

Istanbul nightclub attacker 'received orders from IS'

Turkish border officials refuse entry to NYT reporter

Fatah, Hamas agree to form unity government

Syria war forces elderly to take shelter in retirement homes

Snowden’s stay in Russia extended by two years

Palestinian home demolitions spark deadly violence

East Syria clashes continue between IS, regime forces

Syrian general, 8 soldiers killed in tunnel blast

Florida airport shooter ‘inspired’ by IS jiahdists

US-led coalition warplanes hit IS near Syria's Al-Bab

Iran opposes US joining Syria talks

Turkey snubs UN hearing on detained Rwanda genocide judge

Rouhani calls for end to Saudi ‘interference’ across region

Saudi says China rise source of global stability not conflict

Lengthy drought leaves Somalia with serious famine risk