Tunis - Tunisian security forces on Monday killed two
Islamist militants from the extremist group Ansar al-Sharia and arrested two
others in a Tunis suburb, the interior ministry said.
The two men arrested, Mohamed Khiari and Mohamed Aouadi, are
leaders of the Salafist movement's military wing and are implicated in the assassination
of opposition lawmakers Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, a ministry source
The killings and arrests came during a sweep in a Tunis
northern suburb by the anti-terrorist squad, the source told AFP.
Since the 2011 revolution that overthrew Zine El Abidine Ben
Ali, Tunisia has been rocked by waves of violence blamed on radical Islamist
groups that were repressed under the former strongman.
Islamist premier Ali Larayedh last month accused Ansar
al-Sharia, the largest such movement in the North African country, of liaising
with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb to carry out the worst
"terrorist" attacks since the uprising.
The group is also believed to be supporting jihadists holed
up in the remote Mount Chaambi region, along the Algerian border, who have been
hunted for months by the Tunisian army.
Larayedh's moderate Islamist party Ennahda, which heads the
coalition government, has been heavily criticised for not doing enough to
prevent the violence that has plagued the country.
But in recent months, following growing calls for action
from opposition parties and civil society groups, it has taken a much tougher
stand towards the extremists, and Ansar al-Sharia in particular.
The assassination in a street of Mohamed Brahmi on 25 July,
less than six months after Belaid was killed in similar circumstances, plunged
the country into fresh political turmoil.
Thousands rallied in Tunis on Saturday to mark 40 days since
Brahmi's murder and to call for the ruling coalition to step down.
The protest was organised by the National Salvation Front,
an umbrella group of opposition parties campaigning for the government's