World News

Al-Qaida Linked Group Blamed for Tunisian Assassination, General Strike Begins

Tunisia is blaming al-Qaida-linked extremists for killing a leading opposition politician.

Interior Minister Loutfi Ben Jeddou said Friday that Mohamed Brahmi of the secular Popular Front party was shot 14 times during a daytime attack.



"The shocking finding is that the 9 mm automatic weapon used in this murder is the same weapon that was used to assassinate martyr Chokri Belaid."



As with the killing of opposition leader Chokri Belaid in February, Brahmi's shooting on Thursday has sparked mass protests and a general strike.

Interior Minister Jeddou says investigators believe the assassin is Boubakr Hakim, a weapons smuggler with jihadi sympathies. Hakim is still on the loose.



Police used tear gas to try to disperse protesters who took to the streets of the capital, Tunis, overnight. But many said they would not be deterred.



"We are all against Ennahda. We are all exposed to bullets now. What if I am shot dead? But now, I am ready to die for the sake of my country."



Many of the protesters are blaming the country's ruling Ennahda party for the assassination, saying the moderate Islamist part had not done enough to cut off funding or support for more extremist groups.



The Popular Front's Brahmi was a vocal critic of Tunisia's Islamist-led government and was helping draw up a new constitution.

His widow, Mbarka Brahmi, on Friday called for Tunisians to revolt.



"Today, Ennahda has been bought by a gang using dirty money brought from suspect foreign sources. Ennahda is using this money to kill the father of my children and leave them orphaned so as to silence the voice of truth. The people must not miss this chance to overthrow the government. This system is dirty and treasonous. The people missed their chance on the day of the funeral of Chokri Belaid and didn't take advantage of the moment. If they this miss this opportunity, the funeral of Mohammed Brahmi, then the people deserve what they get."



Also Friday, Popular Front spokesman Hamma Hammami said the party was ready to launch an alternative government.



"We (the opposition) agreed that this is the end of legitimacy of the National Constituent Assembly and institutions that emanate from it, as the presidency and government are over now."



Ennahda, which rules in a coalition with two secular parties, has condemned the killing.

The chairman of the Constituent Assembly declared Friday a day of mourning.

Thursday's killing comes as Tunisia was celebrating the 56th anniversary of becoming a republic after gaining independence from France.

Tunisia's 2011 uprising ousted autocratic President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and sparked a wave of similar protests across the Middle East and North Africa.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs