WASHINGTON — The anti-Islamist movement in Tunisia is gaining ground and momentum as the Tunisian government has declared al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist organization.
Reuters reports that Prime Minister Ali Larayedh declared that his government found ties to the organization related to the assassination of two prominent opposition politicians and killing Tunisian soldiers.
Tunisian citizens originally blamed Larayedh’s Ennahda Islamist party for the assassinations and called for their resignation.
The current Islamist government, which Larayedh is a part, is headed by the Ennahda party. Ansar al-Sharia, a radical Islamist militant group, has caused headaches for the new government in addition to other countries in North Africa. They were also behind the Islamist campaign to take over Mali, which was stopped by a French military intervention and left the Islamists scattered and on the run.
Larayedh said that they “discovered proof that the Ansar group is responsible for the assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi and the attacks at Mount Chaambi (which killed several soldiers)”. He went on to say that they declared the group a “terrorist group.”
Ansar al-Sharia’s leader, Saifallah Benahssine or Abu Iyadh, is wanted by Tunisian police for inciting an attack on the American embassy in the capital city of Tunis in September 2012.