Tunisia forces clash with Islamists

2012-02-23 22:23

Tunis - Tunisian security forces clashed on Thursday with radical Islamists throwing petrol bombs and stones who attempted to break into a police station in the northwestern city of Jendouba, witnesses and officials said.

The interior ministry said in a statement that police had clashed on Wednesday and Thursday with about 150 young people protesting at the arrest of a person wanted by police.

The TAP news agency reported that masked men had torched a police station late on Wednesday and attacked another station on Thursday armed with knives, stones, sticks and Molotov cocktails.

Witness Mouldi Zouabi told AFP that several dozen radical Islamists, known as Salafists, had attacked the main police station in Jendouba and that security forces had fought back with tear gas.

He said the Salafists had taken control of a number of the city's mosques and were continuously broadcasting messages calling for an Islamic holy war.

Tunisia's moderate Islamist leaders, who took power following last year's ouster of strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, are under pressure from a radical Muslim fringe.

The ultra-conservative Salafists have in the past few months demanded full-face veils for female university students, castigated a TV channel for a "blasphemous" film and beat up journalists at a protest.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  religion
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