Tunisian Salafist held after defending jihad
04 April 2013, 17:07
Tunis - A Tunisian Salafist who fought in Syria was arrested
on Wednesday after defending jihad, or Islamic holy war, in a television
broadcast, a justice ministry source said.
Abou Zeid Ettounsi was detained under an arrest warrant
issued by the public prosecutor after appearing on a private Tunisian TV
channel, which questioned him about Tunisians taking part in the Syrian
conflict, the source added.
During the programme, Ettounsi sparked controversy by
admitting having killed several people in the war-ravaged country and saying he
was ready to wage jihad in Tunisia if such a fatwa, or religious edict, were
The justice ministry said the public prosecutor launched an
inquiry into Ettounsi based on statements supplied by Tunisia's anti-terrorist
The judiciary opened an investigation in mid-March into a
network recruiting and sending Tunisians to fight Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces alongside Islamist insurgents.
The media has accused mosques of playing a key role, saying
some imams urge young Tunisians to go to Syria.
Some civil activists and secular opposition parties have
also accused the ruling Ennahda party of failing to rein in Tunisia's radical
Muslims, but the moderate Islamist party insists it firmly opposes armed jihad.
No official numbers have been given on Tunisians fighting in
Syria, but jihadist websites say dozens have been killed during the two-year
Tunisia's government has warned in recent months of jihadist
groups linked to al-Qaeda's north African franchise infiltrating the country's
borders and trafficking weapons, notably to northern Mali.