Africa

One dead in Tunisia clash between Salafists and police

  • 30 October 2012
  • From the section Africa
Tunisian Islamists attend a rally on May 20, 2012 in Kairouan
Salafi Islamists have become more vocal in Tunisia since the fall of the old regime

Authorities in Tunisia say an Islamist militant has been killed in clashes between radical Salafi Muslims and police in the capital Tunis.

The interior ministry said security forces opened fire on Salafists attacking a police station.

The attack was reportedly in retaliation for the arrest of one of their number earlier in the day.

Tunisia has seen numerous clashes between the authorities and hardline Salafists since the uprising in 2011.

The moderate Islamist party Ennahda was elected following the overthrow of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali last year, but Salafists want stricter Islamic laws imposed in Tunisia.

Tuesday's violence began when a group of hardline Islamists tried to attack national guard posts in the Tunis suburb of Manouba, interior ministry spokesman Khaled Tarrouche told the AFP news agency.

"The response by the security forces led to the death of an attacker who was hit by a bullet," he said.

Two members of the security forces were also reported to have been seriously injured.

Police had earlier arrested a Salafi Islamist accused of assaulting the head of Manouba's public security brigade during clashes between alcohol sellers and Salafists in Tunis on Saturday.

Tension has been growing between hardline Islamists and secularists since the overthrow of President Ben Ali's autocratic rule.

The Islamist movement Ennahda governs in coalition with two non-religious parties and has promised not to ban alcohol or impose the veil.

Salafists have held demonstrations to demand the introduction of Sharia law in Tunisia and protested against art which they consider to be blasphemous.

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