News / Middle East

Tunisian Police Arrest Islamists Threatening New Year Celebrations

FILE - Tunisian soldiers patrol near the border with Algeria as seen from the area of Mount Chambi.
FILE - Tunisian soldiers patrol near the border with Algeria as seen from the area of Mount Chambi.

Location

Reuters
Tunisian police arrested seven Salafists, or ultra-conservative Islamists, in the western town of Kasserine on Sunday, local radio reported, as authorities feared radical Islamists may be planning attacks during New Year celebrations.

Kasserine is the closest town to the remote area of Mount Chambi, stormed earlier this year by the army and police to try and track down more than 30 suspected al-Qaida-linked militants. It is near the Algerian border.

Tunisian authorities have stepped up checks in the region, fearing militant Islamists may be planning attacks during New Year celebrations.

The seven Salafists arrested on Sunday evening were distributing leaflets banning New Year celebrations and threatened bakeries selling cakes for the occasion, according to two local radio reports.

One of those arrested was carrying photos on his mobile phone of a militant arrested in Mount Chambi last May when the Tunisian army stormed the area, a local security source told Mosaique Radio.

Mount Chambi, Tunisia's highest point, is around 220 km southwest of the capital Tunis and just a few kilometers from the Algerian border. Conditions are rugged and most roads in the area are unmade.

The Tunisian Interior Ministry could not be reached for a comment.

New Year celebrations used to be a big event in Tunisia, the most secular country in the Arab world, but they have faded since the revolution that toppled President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in early 2011, paving the way for the moderate Islamist Ennahda party to take power.

After a recent political crisis over the role of Islam in politics, the Ennahda party agreed to resign and will hand over to a caretaker government by Jan. 14, the third anniversary of Ben Ali's fall.

Ultra-conservative Salafists - keen to impose an Islamic state - returned from exile or prison after Ben Ali was toppled.

Last week, Tunisian police seized 60kg of gold, worth around $2.3 million, as they checked vehicles for arms and militants on one of the main road links between the north and south of the country but authorities said it was too early to say if the gold had come from or was going to terrorist groups.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid