Ben Ali allies put under house arrest

Two allies of the ousted Tunisian president have been put under house arrest, the official news agency reported yesterday, as protesters kept up pressure on the caretaker government to lock the old guard out of power.

The state news agency, TAP, said Abdallah Kallel and Abdelaziz Ben Dhia have been detained, and that police are looking for a third man, Abdelwaheb Abdallah.

The crackdown against associates of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was the latest move by the interim government to respond to an incessant groundswell of opposition to his old guard.

Tunisia's "jasmine revolution", which forced the authoritarian Mr Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia on 14 January, has sparked similar protests and civil disobedience across the Middle East and North Africa.