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Tunisian Salafis on the Rise

Mischa Benoit-Lavelle reports from Tunis on the rise of Salafis in Tunisia and the possibility of the country becoming a terrorist training ground.
Salafist protesters wave flags during a protest in front of the Tunisian TV headquarters in Tunis March 9, 2012. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi (TUNISIA - Tags: MEDIA CIVIL UNREST POLITICS RELIGION) - RTR2Z4C1

TUNIS – As information trickled out about the hostage taking at Algeria's In Amenas gas field, one fact in particular stood out for Tunisians: Among the 30-odd militants laying siege to the facility, 11 were their countrymen.

It was the latest indication that Tunisia has become a major source of jihadi combatants. In May 2012, Syria's envoys to the United Nations said that they had captured 26 fighters with “al-Qaeda sympathies,” 19 of whom were from Tunisia. While there are obvious reason to doubt information coming from Bashar al-Assad's regime, numerous Tunisians can testify to friends and family members having left to join the conflict.

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