At least one person has died and 18 injured after a fire broke out at the headquarters of Tunisia’s Ennahdha party in the capital Tunis, authorities and party members said.
Ennahdha, in a statement on Thursday, confirmed that one of its members was killed in the fire but did not give any further details, while the interior ministry said the “charred” body had been found in the building.
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#Tunisia: a person was killed in the fire that broke out at #Ennahdha party central headquarters in Montplaisir neigbourhood Thursday afternoon, said the communications officer of the #Tunis Court of First Instance, adding the individual set himself ablaze inside it. #TAP_En pic.twitter.com/BY16f3QCjz
— TAP news agency (@TapNewsAgency) December 9, 2021
The official TAP news agency cited judiciary sources as saying the fire erupted after a man set himself ablaze on the ground floor.
Al Jazeera, however, could not independently verify the reports regarding the circumstances that led to the fire.
The Ennahdha party’s vice president, Ali Laaryadh, and advisory board head Abdelkarim Harouni were hospitalised after they jumped from the second floor of the building, located in Montplaisir neighbourhood of the capital to escape the flames, party members said.
The party’s president, Rached Ghannouchi, speaker of Tunisia’s suspended parliament, was not in the building at the time, party official Mondher Lounisi said.
— Rabeb Aloui (@rababalouii) December 9, 2021
The blaze comes three days after Ennahdha warned it was facing an orchestrated “defamation” campaign aimed at shutting it out of national politics.
It has emerged as a prominent political force after the Arab Spring protests forced out longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
The party played a central role in national politics until President Kais Saied sacked the government, suspended the assembly and seized a string of powers on July 25.