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Tunisian police arrest ‘terrorist’ prison escapees

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The Tunisian interior ministry said Tuesday it had apprehended five inmates convicted on “terrorist” charges who absconded from prison last week.

“Different units of national security, the national guard (police) and the army were able at 5:00 am (0400 GMT) on November 7 to arrest four recently escaped terrorists,” the ministry said in a statement.

The four were “entrenched on Mount Boukornine”, around 30 kilometres (19 miles) southeast from the capital Tunis, the ministry said.

Another prisoner, 44-year-old Ahmed al-Malki, had been arrested on November 5 “with the help of citizens of the Ettadhamen district”, a densely populated Tunis neighbourhood, the ministry said.

The five inmates, who had been “serving prison sentences related to terrorist cases”, according to the ministry, escaped from the Mornaguia prison on October 31 in what authorities said was a carefully planned operation.

Two of the group were also suspected by police of staging an armed bank robbery near the capital on Friday.

Malki, nicknamed “Al-Somali”, was serving 24 years in prison, following the killing of opposition figures, including Chokri Belaid.

The February 2013 assassination of Belaid, who was the leader of the leftist Democratic Patriots’ Unified Party, shocked the country and set off a political crisis that forced the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party to cede the power it wielded since the 2011 revolution.

Several months later, Mohamed Brahmi, a left-wing member of parliament was also killed. An investigation into both of their deaths has remained open ever since.

Both Belaid and Brahmi opposed the Ennahdha party, which dominated both parliament and government throughout most of the last decade.

The assassinations were claimed by jihadist militants.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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