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Exclusive: Shooting of Salafists In Tunisia May Spur More Attacks

Violence by radical Islamists has made a recent reappearance in the impoverished neighborhoods surrounding Tunis. Salafists are attempting to replace the area's security forces, who no longer have full control over the towns, writes Mischa Benoit-Lavelle in this exclusive report from Douar Hicher.
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against security forces seeking to arrest Tunisian Salafist leader Saif-Allah Benahssine over clashes at the U.S. Embassy last week, at the al-Fatah mosque in Tunis September 17, 2012. Benahssine, leader of the Tunisian branch of the hardline Islamist Ansar al-Sharia, on Monday escaped from the mosque that had been surrounded by security forces seeking to arrest him over clashes at the U.S. Embassy last week during protests against an anti-Islam film, a Reuter

Standing between two armored cars outside of the national-guard post he commands, Nadhem Bannouri recounted the story of the officers who on Tuesday night, Oct. 30, opened fire on a crowd of Salafists that had stormed a national-guard post, killing the imam and muezzin (official who calls to prayer) of a local mosque. Armed with rocks and Molotov cocktails, the crowd forced its way into the under-manned post and stole a pistol and a teargas-grenade launcher.

As Bannouri tells it, the officers’ backs were to the wall — the post has no emergency exit — and they were forced to shoot.

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