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Archive for Tunisia

Newsline: Tunisia summons British ambassador over airline electronics rules

Tunisia’s government has summoned the British ambassador to protest against a decision to restrict carry-on electronic goods on flights from Tunisia, the Foreign Ministry said. Britain announced that from Saturday it would ban passengers from carrying some phones, laptops and tablets on flights from six countries in the Middle East including Tunisia. Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the British decision was “unjustified” and did not reflect an improved security situation in Tunisia. “Tunisia is surprised by this decision, which was taken without consultation with the Tunisian authorities or informing them in advance,” the statement said. Tunisia has been working to contain a threat from Islamist militants after three major attacks claimed by Islamic State in 2015, including two targeting foreign tourists. The United States imposed similar restrictions on planes coming from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa in response to unspecified security threats. The U.S. restrictions did not include Tunisia.



Newsline: Kidnapped Tunisian embassy workers freed in Libya

A Tunisian diplomat and a fellow embassy staffer abducted in Libya earlier this year were freed by their abductors after months in captivity, an embassy source said. “They have been freed and should be returning to Tunisia soon,” the source, who declined to be identified, told AFP, adding that the pair were in good health. Diplomats in Tripoli say militias which fought to topple the Moamer Kadhafi regime in the 2011 uprising often carry out kidnappings to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans they hold. Embassy employee Mohamed ben Sheikh was kidnapped in Tripoli on March 21 while diplomat Al-Aroussi Kontassi was seized April 17. At the time Tunis said a jihadist group was behind the abductions and was demanding the release of Libyans jailed in Tunisia for their role in a deadly “terrorist operation” that took place three years ago. The Tunisian embassy source said the pair were freed “thanks to negotiations” but that his government did give in to the demands of the kidnappers. Their abductions come during a string of attacks targeting diplomats in the Libyan capital. Jordan’s ambassador to Libya has also been kidnapped and Portugal’s embassy was attacked by gunmen


Newsline: Website of Indian Embassy in Tunisia hacked

After two attacks in Pakistan within 36 hours, the website of Indian Embassy in Tunisia was hacked, according to a report on the News Minute. According to the report, the hackers posted that there would be a similar attack carried out in Mumbai airport. It repeated the allegation of India’s involvement in supporting Pakistan. Pakistan witnessed one of the most audacious terror attack in its history when Threek-E-Taliban Pakistan launched a twin assault on Karachi airport. Just a day later after the siege ended the website of the Indian embassy in Tunisia has been hacked. The News Minute reports, hackers posted a message that vengeance would be taken for the Karachi airport attack. It repeats the unsubstantiated allegation of Indian involvement in Karachi attack and says similar attack would be carried out in Mumbai airport.


Newsline: Tunisia slashes Tripoli embassy staff

The Tunisian embassy in Tripoli has halved its staff since the abduction of embassy advisor Aroussi Gontassi on Thursday. Confirming the move, the ambassador, Ridha Boukadi, told the Libya Herald that there was as yet no news of Gontassi or of his whereabouts. As regards the kidnapping of two Tunisian engineers working for a Tunisian engineering company on Tuesday, he said they have been freed by “criminal gangs” after a ransom was paid. With regard to Mohamed Cheikh Rouhou, his secretary who was abducted a month ago, the ambassador indicated that there were contacts with those holding him. Although not free, the ambassador said that he was “fine”.


Newsline: Tunisian diplomat kidnapped in Libya

A Tunisian diplomat was kidnapped Thursday in Tripoli in unknown circumstances, a Libyan security source told AFP, just two days after armed men seized Jordan’s ambassador. A Tunisian source confirmed the abduction and identified the diplomat as Al-Aroussi Kontassi, without giving further details. Tunis’s ambassador to Libya, Ridha Boukadi, refused to comment, but the Tunisian foreign ministry voiced concern over the “disappearance in obscure circumstances” of the diplomat. Libyan foreign ministry spokesman Said Lessoued said he could not confirm or deny the reported abduction, the latest in a string of incidents targeting foreign diplomats and Libyan politicians. A Tripoli police official, quoted by Al-Wassat news website, said the diplomat was seized by unknown assailants near the central Al-Kadissiya square not far from the Tunisian embassy. If confirmed, the diplomat would be the second staffer from the Tunisian embassy abducted in the Libyan capital since March 21 when a man employed by the mission was seized. His fate is still unknown. Diplomats in Tripoli say militias that fought to topple the Moamer Kadhafi regime in the 2011 uprising often carry out kidnappings in order to blackmail other countries into releasing Libyans held abroad. On Tuesday, masked gunmen kidnapped Jordan’s ambassador, Fawaz Aitan, as he was going to work in Tripoli, shooting at his car and wounding his driver. In January, gunmen seized five Egyptian diplomats and held them for two days before releasing them. The abductors had demanded in return the release of a Libyan militia chief held in Egypt. Two assailants were killed in October when protesters attacked Russia’s embassy in Tripoli, and a car bomb attack on the French embassy wounded two guards a year ago. On September 11, 2012, an attack by militants on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 revolt, killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.


Newsline: Tunisian diplomat still hostage in Libya after kidnap

Tunisia says unknown assailants have kidnapped one of its embassy staffers in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. The Tunisian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued that it was in contact with Libyan authorities to pursue the fate of Mohamed bin Sheikh, the secretary to Tunisia’s ambassador to Tripoli, who had been abducted in the Libyan capital. According to a Tunisian Embassy source, unidentified armed men forced Sheikh into their vehicle after stopping his car in the Ain Zara suburb of the Libyan capital on March 21. In a similar incident, armed attackers kidnapped four Egyptian diplomats and an embassy employee in Tripoli on January 24 and 25. The incident forced Cairo to evacuate its embassy in the Libyan capital as well as its consulate in Benghazi. The diplomats were freed a few days later. A South Korean official was also abducted in January while leaving his office in the Libyan capital. However, Libyan security forces managed to release him a few days later.


Newsline: UAE, Egypt recall ambassadors to Tunisia

The UAE Foreign Ministry has recalled Salem Al Qattam, UAE Ambassador to Tunisia, in a surprise development that comes in response to Tunisia President’s statements in which he attacked the Egyptian authorities and called for the release of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. UAE said that it recalled its ambassador in Tunis for consultation on the relations between the two countries and regional developments. Egypt recalled on Saturday its ambassador to Tunisia, Ayman Mesharrafa, in response to the Tunisian president’s demand for the release of President Morsi. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected and condemned the statements made by Tunisian President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki during a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.