Takfiris who have since joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claimed the 2013 murders of two secular politicians that plunged Tunisia into crisis, warning of more killings just days before a presidential runoff election.
“Yes, tyrants, we’re the ones who killed Chokri Belaid [pictured above] and Mohammed Brahmi,” Abu Mouqatel, a dual French national wanted for their murders, said in a video released on the Internet on Thursday.
“We are going to come back and kill several of you. You will not have a quiet life until Tunisia implements Islamic law,” added the militant, whose real name is Abu Bakr al-Hakim.
Abu Mouqatel appeared along with three other militants, all of them dressed in combat uniform and carrying arms, with Takfiri banners waving behind them. It was not clear where the video was filmed, but Abu Mouqatel claimed they were in an area under the control of ISIS, which has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq.
“Our message to the tyrants of Tunisia and to their soldiers is this – between us there will (only) be weapons.”
Interior ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui responded by saying, “Tunisians are stronger than these terrorists. They mean nothing to us.”
Abu Mouqatel, born in Paris in 1983, is considered to be one of the key people organizing the flow of foreign Takfiris to Iraq, where he himself has traveled to fight. He was jailed in France for seven years in 2008, but given early release in 2011.
The authorities in Tunisia estimate that as many as 3,000 nationals have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight with Takfiri groups, and have expressed concern that some will return to carry out attacks at home.
Election “makes you infidels”
Belaid was killed on February 6 last year, while Brahmi was murdered on July 25, in attacks that had not previously been claimed, but that authorities had blamed on the Takfiri Ansar al-Sharia group.
The killing of Belaid triggered deadly protests and a political crisis that brought down Islamist Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.
Brahmi’s murder intensified the crisis, and threatened to derail Tunisia’s post-uprising transition until a compromise government was formed in January this year.
On Sunday, Tunisians will vote in the second round of a presidential election, capping off four years of a sometimes chaotic transition since the 2011 ouster of longtime ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
Incumbent Moncef Marzouki faces political veteran Beji Caid Essebsi in the vote – the first time Tunisians will be allowed to freely elect their president since independence from France in 1956.
The first round, on November 23, saw Essebsi, an 88-year-old who heads the anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes party, take 39 percent of the vote.
In the video posted Thursday, Takfiri Abu Mossaab called on Tunisians to boycott the polls, saying the authorities “are turning you into infidels with these elections.”
The government, which has been on alert since October, will be deploying tens of thousands of troops and police to guarantee security during the vote.
In addition to the Takfiri threat, major challenges remain for Tunisia.
Since the revolution, police have arrested between 2,000-3,000 people for “terrorism” but most suspects have been released due to a lack of evidence.
The small North African nation’s economy is struggling to recover from the upheaval of the revolution and there are fears that widespread joblessness will cause social unrest.
Source: Al-Akhbar English