Minister: Tunisia salafis get orders from al-Qaida

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Associated Press

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 4:01 PM

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's interior minister says the al-Qaida terror network has been giving orders to the country's ultraconservative Muslims to destabilize the country.

Lotfi Ben Jeddou told journalists Wednesday there were links between Ansar al-Shariah, the most prominent salafi group in Tunisia, an armed militant group fighting the government known as the Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade and al-Qaida.

Proof of his assertions included a taped confession of a captured militant and a document allegedly from Ansar al-Shariah leader Seifallah Ben Hassine pledging allegiance to al-Qaida.

Ben Jeddou said a number of militants had been arrested, including one that fought American forces in Iraq.

The press conference follows Prime Minister Ali Larayedh's announcement Tuesday that Ansar al-Shariah had been branded a terrorist organization.

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