Security tightened after Tunisia violence

Soldiers deployed following deadly clashes in Tunis suburb over arrest of Salafist in connection with assault.

    Police and soldiers have deployed in large numbers in the Tunisian capital after deadly clashes with radical Islamists during the night, according to the interior ministry.

    The deployment came a day after Tunisia's state news agency said one protester was killed and three security officers injured in clashes near Tunis on Tuesday.

    Wielding sharp tools and swords, the protesters went on the attack in the Tunis suburb of Manouba after police arrested a Salafist suspected of assaulting the head of the suburb's public-security brigade, Khaled Tarrouche, interior ministry spokesman, said.

    "There has been a reinforcement of security, of the National Guard, of the army to prevent any retaliation" by the Salafist movement, Tarrouche said on Wednesday.

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

    Two security force members were also seriously injured, he said.

    Free hand  for police

    A police official told AFP news agency another person died in the violence, but that was denied by Tarrouche.

    The security forces would use "all the tools allowed by law" in the event of any further violence, he said, suggesting that they could fire live rounds if confronted.

    Tuesday's attacks were carried out by "a large number of people with radical religious tendencies", 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."

    Two security force members were also seriously injured, he said.

    A police official told AFP another person died in the violence, but that was denied by Tarrouche.

    Security chief's account

    The suburb's security chief, Wissem Ben Slimane, said on Sunday that he had been attacked the day before by a suspected Salafist who was wielding a hatchet and wounded him in the head.

    The assault took place as the National Guard, the equivalent of a gendarme force, intervened in a brawl between illegal alcohol sellers and a group of Salafists in Manouba.

    Tunisia's government has pledged to crack down on extremist violence since a deadly protest outside the US embassy last month.

    Since the Tunisian revolution in January last year that overthrew Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, radical Islamists have carried out a number of attacks in the country, including against security forces and on cultural events.

    The opposition accuses the government, led by the Islamist party Ennahda, of failing to rein in violence by Salafists.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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