US, Libyan forces cap­ture Tu­nisian mil­i­tant leader

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL - TU­NIS—

U. S. and Libyan forces cap­tured Saifal­lah Be­nahs­sine, the leader of Tu­nisia’s Is­lamist mil­i­tant group An­sar al-Sharia, in the Libyan city of Mis­rata, Tu­nisia’s state news agency TAP said, cit­ing a se­cu­rity source.

The U.S. em­bassy in Libya and Libyan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for con­fir­ma­tion of the ar­rest of Be­nahs­sine, also known as Abu Iyadh.

But the cap­ture of such as high-rank­ing Tu­nisian Is­lamist mil­i­tant in Libya would in­di­cate close ties among Is­lamist groups across North Africa. In Oc­to­ber, U.S. forces cap­tured a top al Qaeda sus­pect in a raid in Tripoli.

A for­mer fighter in Afghanistan, Be­nahs­sine had de­clared loy­alty to al Qaeda and was ac­cused of in­cit­ing an at­tack on the U.S. em­bassy in Tu­nisia in Septem­ber 2012.

An­sar al-Sharia was one of the hard­line groups to emerge af­ter the Tu­nisia’s re­volt against its au­to­cratic leader three years ago. Mil­i­tant vi­o­lence has in­creased in Tu­nisia since the gov­ern­ment be­gan a crack­down on the group this year.—Reuters

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