Four radicals arrested as police hunt for known assassin of Chokri Belaid

Tunisia's new Prime Minister tries to ease tension after opposition leader's murder


Four people suspected of acting as accomplices in the assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid have been arrested.

Interior Minister Ali Laarayedh, who is due to take office as Prime Minister shortly, said that Mr Belaid’s killer had also been identified and a search to find him was under way.

Mr Laarayedh said the four suspected accomplices had a “radical religious tendency” and that one had confessed to accompanying the assassin on the day of the murder.

Mr Belaid, a prominent secular opponent of Tunisia’s moderate Islamist-led government, was shot dead outside his home in the capital Tunis on 6 February. His murder shocked Tunisia, which had not seen a political assassination on its soil since the killing of an anti-colonialist 60 years ago.

Tens of thousands of people turned out for Mr Belaid’s funeral, many chanting slogans from Tunisia’s Arab Spring revolution and demanding the “fall of the regime”. The unprecedented reaction forced Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to resign, leaving Mr Laarayedh to form a new government.

One of the suspects made a visit to the crime scene last Thursday, escorted by a large deployment of police and anti-terror units, to re-enact the murder and subsequent getaway.

Outside Mr Belaid’s home in a middle-class suburb of the capital, a crowd who had come to observe the re-enactment began chanting “The people demand to know who killed Chokri Belaid”.

There has been widespread criticism of the government since the killing, with many blaming leaders for failing to contain the violence of religious groups including the Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution, a network of pro-Ennahda volunteer groups who have clashed with secularist politicians and supporters throughout the country.

Security sources have frequently maintained that Ennahda’s previous incarnation – as an underground dissident movement – has made it difficult for them to manage the state’s security apparatus.

“The majority of policemen have worked against Ennahda... and the majority of Ennahda members have threatened policemen... this has contributed to creating a certain caution between police officers and the Ennahda government,” said Kamel Mraihi, a police officer who has monitored Ennahda and other Islamist groups for 20 years.

Mr Laarayedh  said there was no evidence the killer and accomplices belonged to a specific group. An early report had indicated that one of the arrested men belonged to an organisation associated with the Leagues in Le Kram, a working-class neighbourhood close to the capital.

However, members of the group, called the Men of the Revolution of Le Kram, insisted their organisation aimed only to “protect the citizens of El Kram” from the violence of both police and criminals. They said that the suspected accomplice in question – named as 25-year-old metallurgist Mohamed Amin – was instead a member of the Salafist group Ansar Al-Sharia, widely believed to be responsible for a violent protest at the American embassy in Tunis last year.

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end