Tunisia forces clash with 50 armed rebels

Updated 02 May 2013
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Tunisia forces clash with 50 armed rebels

MOUNT CHAAMBI, Tunisia: Tunisian troops clashed yesterday with a group of around 50 armed militants in the remote Mount Chaambi border region, a security source at the scene said.
An AFP journalist nearby reported hearing an exchange of gunfire in the area, which is close to Tunisia’s border with Algeria.
The group is commanded by an Algerian and two Tunisians originally from the regional capital Kasserine, the source said.
Tunisian forces have been conducting search operations in the mountainous region since Monday, targeting a group of “terrorists,” the authorities have said, while refusing to give further details because the operations were ongoing.
The gunmen laid homemade land mines in parts of the Mount Chaambi region, which have already wounded around 10 soldiers and members of the national guard, some seriously, during the operation to flush them out. The group originally consisted of 11 fighters for whom the Tunisian security forces have been searching since December, when they attacked the border post at Bou Chebka and killed a member of the national guard.
“They then recruited some youths from Kasserine and men who had come from Mali,” said the security source, without explaining how he got the information.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) we found grenades, military and homemade bombs, documents on how to make homemade bombs, coded documents, maps and mobile phones being used to make calls abroad,” he added.
Unlike earlier in the week, yesterday’s operations are being carried out by the army, which has the only units capable of detecting land mines. The national guard, or auxiliary police, are playing a secondary role.


Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

Updated 25 min 48 sec ago
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Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

  • Iran arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad
  • The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, the judiciary said.
“The head of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance in Mashhad was arrested for undermining public decency and disrespecting the laws,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency said quoting a deputy prosecutor.
Islamic law in Iran prohibits public dancing.
The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd. The event took place on Tuesday.
Mohsen Afshar, a spokesman for the shopping center, told the ISNA news agency that a monthly draw is organized and a car given away to the lucky winner to attract customers.
According to Afshar the singer had the necessary “official permits to perform.”
The performance can attract 10,000-12,000 people, he said, including “some individuals whose behavior is contrary to the norms of the Islamic republic.”
But Heydari told Tasnim news agency that the mall was not authorized to organize such events.
Mashhad is a holy and conservative city where in 2016 concerts were banned by the Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Allamolhoda, who also told music-lovers to “Go somewhere else.”
Thursday’s arrest comes days after Tehran’s reformist mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi, resigned after claims he was threatened with arrest.
Najafi had attracted criticism from hard-liners last month after attending in March a show at City Hall for Iranian Women’s Day in which schoolgirls performed a traditional dance.