Tunisia says the Salafi terrorist group Ansar al - Sharia is behind the assassination of two secular politicians and several soldiers in the North African country.
" We have discovered proof that the Ansar group is responsible for the assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi and the attacks at Mount Chaambi, " Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said on Tuesday.
" We have decided to officially classify this group as a terrorist group. Anyone belonging to it must face judicial consequences, " Larayedh told reporters.
He said the Salafi group was linked with al-Qaeda militants, pledging that Tunisia would fight against the group "whatever the sacrifices." Ansar al-Sharia is led by Saifallah Ben Hassine (aka Abou Iyadh), a former al-Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan. The group was suspected in the assassinations of Brahmi, the leader of the left-wing Popular Movement Party, in July and Belaid, a secular opposition leader, in February. Police said the victims were fatally shot with the same gun. It is also charged with violent attacks in the Mount Chaambi area near the Algerian border, including the brutal killing of eight soldiers last month. The July killings plunged Tunisia into unrest and triggered massive street protests in the country. The opposition accuses officials of failing to take action over Brahmi’s assassination.