Tunisian Security Forces Arrest 3-Member Terror Cell

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Tunisian Security Forces Arrest 3-Member Terror Cell

Monday, 3 June, 2019 – 11:15
Tunisia’s counter-terrorism forces uncovered a three-member takfiri terror cell. (Reuters)
Tunis – Mongi Saidani
Tunisia’s counter-terrorism forces uncovered a three-member takfiri terror cell that was plotting operations in the central-eastern areas between the Mahdia and Sfax regions.

It was headed by an ex-convict affiliated with the banned radical Ansar al-Sharia group and who was indicted in what is known as the Suleiman 2006 terror case.

Counter-terrorism task forces succeeded in arresting all members of the group while they were attempting to rob a wealthy residence.

Well-informed sources said that the terrorists had accused the rich figures of the eastern coast of Tunisia with apostasy and plotted to systematically plunder and pillage their assets.

During preliminary investigations, the suspects confessed to plotting multiple robberies against a host of victims.

They also confessed to abducting a wealthy resident and demanding a ransom from their family in return for their safe release.

After legal proceedings are concluded, it is likely that the suspects will be convicted and face jail time.

Separately, a Tunisian man in his thirties was tried in a criminal court on terror-linked charges.

Investigations revealed that he was in contact with senior leaders in the terror group, ISIS, and was involved in provoking attacks against security forces.

Algerian, Tunisian Meeting Addresses Libyan Crisis, Terrorism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Algerian, Tunisian Meeting Addresses Libyan Crisis, Terrorism

Friday, 26 April, 2019 – 09:30
A general view shows part of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia [Reuters]
Tunis, London – Mongi Saidani, Asharq Al-Awsat
Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum visited Tunisia Thursday on his first foreign visit since assuming his position following the political change in his country.

The visit aims at supporting security and military coordination to counter the dangers of terrorism, in light of political instability in Libya, and comes after an invitation from Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui.

Prior to Boukadoum’s visit to Tunis, Jhinaoui revealed that he discussed with Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar putting an end to the clashes in the country. Haftar informed Jhinaoui that he doesn’t reject calls for dialogue with representatives of the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Haftar noted that as the LNA commander, he is required to fight terrorist organizations.

In a related context, Jhinaoui said that he also spoke with the GNA Foreign Minister, stressing that his country deals with all parties, and does not line up with any Libyan party, at the expense of the other.

Earlier, Jhinaoui called on his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to push the five permanent countries at the UN Security Council to have a unified stance toward the ongoing fighting in Libya.

Le Drian informed Jhinaoui that France is working with the Security Council member states to put an end to the fighting in Libya.

Both ministers discussed also the need for an immediate ceasefire in Tripoli and for the political process to resume under the auspices of the UN.

In other news, Tunisian security forces stopped the broadcast of Nessma TV channel for violating laws of the audio and visual sector.

The Interior Ministry confirmed that the Communications Authority issued the order to stop the broadcast of the channel, and security forces had entered the network’s offices and confiscated equipment.

“On April 15, the Communications Authority issued an order to seize the network’s broadcasting equipment since the channel is operating without legal basis,” the ministry stated.

The Commission seized the channel’s equipment on the grounds that the company licensed since 2009, did not abide by the new laws since the call to do so in 2014.

Head of the Commission, Nuri al-Lajmi, explained that authorities waited for four years for the channel to settle its status, although the law obliges it to do so within a period not exceeding one year.

Nessma officials said security forces had stormed its Tunis offices on Thursday morning and cut the network’s transmission. The staff gathered in front of the channel’s building and chanted against the government.

The channel also claimed the Commission’s decision was politicized, which Lajmi denied asserting that no political party influenced the government’s order.

The ministry denied the channel’s assertion that security forces had assaulted Nessma employees.

French Prosecutor Says 4 Friends Plotted Imminent Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

French Prosecutor Says 4 Friends Plotted Imminent Attack

The “commando” of four arrested on Sunday in the eastern city of Strasbourg plotted to carry out an attack on Dec. 1, but investigators have not yet determined “the specific chosen target among all those considered by the group,” Molins said.

A fifth suspect was arrested in the southern city of Marseille at the same time as the Strasbourg suspects. Molins told reporters that suspect was not in direct touch with the other four, but was “given guidance remotely” from the same IS member.

The prosecutor didn’t name any targets, but security was tightened this week at the Paris headquarters of France’s criminal investigations police, reportedly among the locations studied. French President Francois Hollande said a “large-scale attack” was thwarted.

The night they were arrested, two of the Strasbourg group had just downloaded the Periscope application, which allows people to stream live on Internet with a cell phone. The app activity suggests they were preparing an “imminent” attack, Molins said.

The four Strasbourg suspects also were in possession of guns and ammunition, he said. Among the weapons seized during home searches were two handguns, two automatic rifles, several cartridge clips and dozens of cartridges of different calibers.

Investigators also found instructions for a money transfer, GPS coordinates and detailed explanations for obtaining more weapons on one suspect’s USB stick.

All five men had a “clear will to find and to identify targets to commit an act in the very short term,” Molins said.

In addition, the five “had common instructions to obtain weapons, instructions given by a person from the Iraqi-Syrian zone through encrypted applications popular among terrorists,” he said.

Investigators recovered a notebook that contained 12 pages of writing that referred to an armed jihad, death in martyrdom and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State group leader, the prosecutor said.

After being held in custody since Sunday, the five were moved Friday to the Paris courthouse where they were to appear before counter-terrorism investigating judges. The Paris prosecutor asked magistrates to hand the five preliminary charges of taking part in a “terrorist criminal association” and to jail them.

Molins was speaking the day after anti-terrorism authorities took the unusual step of holding the men in custody without charge beyond the normal maximum period, relying on a recent anti-terrorism measure.

The five were later placed under investigation on preliminary charges of criminal terrorist association with a view of preparing attacks, a judicial official said. Three of the Strasbourg group were also charged with acquiring, possessing and transporting arms in relation with a terrorist enterprise. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and asked not to be named.

The four arrested in Strasbourg were two French citizens, both age 37; a 36-year-old Franco-Tunisian; and a 35-year-old Franco-Moroccan. Two of them had several criminal convictions in France, Molins said. The man arrested in Marseille was a 26-year-old Moroccan.

Two of the Strasbourg suspects traveled to the Turkish-Syrian border via Cyprus in March 2015, then prosecutor said. The Marseille suspect left Morocco in 2013 and made multiple trips across Europe with fake ID documents. In 2015, the Turkish authorities prevented him from entering Turkey, he said.

France remains under a state of emergency imposed after Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.

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