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Tunisia arrests Libyan "terrorist" with explosives

Source: Reuters - Thu, 9 May 2013 13:29 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds Ghannouchi and background)

TUNIS, May 9 (Reuters) - Tunisia said on Thursday police had arrested a Libyan "terrorist" trying to enter a southern port with explosives, as security forces wage a nationwide campaign against militants.

"The anti-terrorism task force ... arrested on Wednesday a terrorist Libyan trying to enter with a quantity of explosives in Port of Ktef in Ben Guardan," the interior ministry said.

The Tunisian army and police said on Tuesday they were hunting more than 30 suspected al Qaeda-linked militants close to the border with Algeria, and President Moncef Marzouki travelled to the area to oversee the operation.

Tunisia has become increasingly concerned about attacks the authorities blame on armed Islamists.

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the ruling Islamist Ennahda Party, said on Thursday "terrorism has no future in Tunisia".  "Now is not the time for dialogue with terrorists who carry a weapon," he told a news conference. Ghannouchi has in the past said he supported dialogue with hardline Salafist groups.

Police say radical Islamists were behind the assassination of secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid in February, which triggered the biggest street protests in Tunisia since the 2011 overthrow of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled for more than two decades. (Reporting by Tarek Amara; editing by Andrew Roche)

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