Tunisia: Belaid killer on run; four arrested

Updated 26 February 2013
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Tunisia: Belaid killer on run; four arrested

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 yesterday.
“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 Feb. 6 sparked deadly street protests and strikes and exposed the widening fissures between the ruling conservatives 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.”
Larayedh refused 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 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.


Gaza tear gas baby left off official death count

Updated 2 min 8 sec ago
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Gaza tear gas baby left off official death count

GAZA CITY: A baby who died near the Gaza border was not included in a Gaza health ministry list of Palestinians killed by the Israel army, after a dispute over how she died.
The ministry and family members originally said 8-month-old Leila Al-Ghandour had died after inhaling tear gas along the border during a day of clashes in which at least 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.
The Israeli army disputed the claim, calling it “fake news” by Hamas, the movement that rules the coastal enclave.
The army claimed she had a pre-existing medical condition, citing an unnamed doctor with access to her file.
A full list of those the ministry called “martyrs,” published this week for the first time, did not include Ghandour.
The health ministry has said a full review of her death was underway.
Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesman for the ministry, said her name would not be included until the review was completed, without giving a time frame.
“Her name was not included in earlier lists either,” Qudra told AFP, though no exhaustive list had previously been made public.
“The investigation will determine (whether she had a pre-existing condition) and if the inhaled gas contributed to her death.”
At least 61 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on May 14th when thousands of Palestinians protested as the US officially moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to the ministry’s figures.
At least 114 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the Gaza Strip since mass demonstrations broke out on March 30th, it said.
This was several lower than previous tolls compiled by AFP on the basis of the ministry’s reports.
The ministry’s list does not include those whose bodies were not recovered by Palestinian medics.
The Israeli army is believed to have kept the bodies of several people shot near or along the border.
The army did not immediately respond to questions about the number of bodies it may be holding.