Last updated: 30 October, 2012

Islamist killed in clash with Tunisian police

Radical Islamists in Tunisia raided two national guard posts Tuesday, leading to clashes with security forces that killed one attacker, the interior ministry said.

Wielding sharp tools and swords, the Islamists went on the attack in the Tunis suburb of Manouba after police arrested a Salafist Islamist suspected of assaulting the head of the suburb’s public security brigade, said interior ministry spokesman Khaled Tarrouche.

The attacks were carried out by “a large number of people with radical religious tendencies,” Tarrouche told AFP.

“The response by the security forces led to the death of an attacker who was hit by a bullet,” he said.

Two security force members were also seriously injured, he said.

The suburb’s security chief, Wissem Ben Slimane, said Sunday that he had been attacked the day before by a suspected Salafist who was wielding a hatchet and wounded him in the head.

The assault took place as the national guard, the equivalent of a gendarme force, intervened in a brawl between illegal alcohol sellers and a group of Salafists in Manouba.

Since the Tunisian revolution in January last year that ousted former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, radical Islamists have carried out a number of attacks in the country, including against security forces and on cultural events.

The Tunisian opposition accuses the government, led by Islamist party Ennahda, of failing to rein in violence by Salafists, a hardline branch of Sunni Islam.

But the authorities have vowed to crack down on Islamist violence in the wake of a Salafist-led attack on the US embassy in September in which four assailants were killed.