Belaid’s killer on run, four held: Tunisia minister

Updated 26 February 2013
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Belaid’s killer on run, four held: Tunisia minister

TUNIS: The suspected murderer of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid has been identified and is on run but four of his accomplices have been arrested, Interior Minister Ali Larayedh said on Tuesday.
“The killer has been identified and is being chased,” Larayedh told a news conference.
“Four other suspects have been arrested. They belong to a radical religious” group, said Larayedh, who is also prime-minister designate tasked with forming a new government.
Belaid’s daylight killing on February 6 sparked deadly street protests and strikes and exposed the widening fissures between the ruling Islamists and liberals.
It also threw Tunisia into its worst political crisis since the revolution two years ago that ousted former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Larayedh said the four people arrested had “monitored (Belaid) for some time.”
One of the suspects, he added, “confessed to having accompanied the killer on the day of the crime.”
Police sources had earlier told AFP that those behind the killing were adherents of the Salafist movement, which is known for its radical version of Sunni Islam.
The Salafists have been blamed for several violent actions in Tunisia over the past months, including an attack on the US embassy last September that left four attackers dead.
Larayedh declined to comment on who may have ordered the killing, even as Belaid’s widow urged authorities to get to flush out those responsible.
“It is good to know who carried it out, but for me it is very important to know who ordered it... because this was a very well-organized crime,” Khalfaoui told France’s Europe 1 radio during a visit to Paris on Tuesday.
“We are asking for a trial, for further investigation, for everything to be known,” she said.
Belaid’s brother, Abdelmajid, accuses the ruling Islamist Ennahda party of being behind the murder.
“It’s Ennahda which gave the green light to kill my brother,” he told AFP, but Khalfaoui was more cautious, saying only that “Ennahda’s political leadership is involved.”
The political crisis in Tunisia has been aggravated with Belaid’s killing, with former prime minister Hamadi Jebali resigning after his own party Ennahda dismissed his proposal to form a new government of technocrats.


Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

Updated 25 April 2018
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Letter to Qatar: Abandon PR, change attitude, and siege would be lifted

LONDON: Four Arab ambassadors have called on Qatar to improve relations with its neighbors, change its attitude and stop its support for extremism, terror and destabilization in the region.

The four ambassadors of Saudi Arabia (Mohammed bin Nawwa), Bahrain (Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa), the UAE (Suleiman Al-Mazroui) and Egypt (Nasser Kamel) co-wrote a letter published on Wednesday in the Financial Times to answer an FT lead article titled “Qatar siege is meaningless.”

The ambassadors stressed in the letter that their governments had no plans to incorporate Qatar, as the FT claimed, but all they hoped for is that the Doha government committed to the international criteria to fight terrorism and “stop its support for terror and extremism in the region.”

In the letter, the four ambassadors reminded the paper that the prime minister of Qatar attended the wedding of the son of Abdel Rahman Al-Nueimi,who is listed on a US terror list, and is the main conduit to Al-Qaeda in Iraq where, according to the US, he funnelled millions of US dollars to the organization there.

The ambassadors added that Al-Nueimi is one of many sponsors of terror living and working in Qatar.

The ambassadors drew the readers’ attention to Qatar’s “double standard behavior” — saying one thing to the West, and doing the opposite.

They concluded the letter by demonstrating Qatar’s “duplicity.”

They said that Qatar has recently intensified the use of its media and PR to promote and support terror in the Middle East generally and in Saudi Arabia especially.

Recently Qatari broadcasters opened their airwaves to Houthi militia in Yemen and its propaganda calling for attacking Saudi Arabia.

In conclusion the ambassadors called on Doha to quit its public relations campaign and change its attitude — only then would the siege be over.