TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's interior minister says the al-Qaida terror network has been giving orders to the country's ultraconservative Muslims to destabilize the country.
Lotfi Ben Jeddou told journalists Wednesday there were links between Ansar al-Shariah, the most prominent salafi group in Tunisia, an armed militant group fighting the government known as the Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade and al-Qaida.
Proof of his assertions included a taped confession of a captured militant and a document allegedly from Ansar al-Shariah leader Seifallah Ben Hassine pledging allegiance to al-Qaida.
Ben Jeddou said a number of militants had been arrested, including one that fought American forces in Iraq.
The press conference follows Prime Minister Ali Larayedh's announcement Tuesday that Ansar al-Shariah had been branded a terrorist organization.
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