The authorities in Tunisia have announced that 21 people, including 20 foreign tourists, were killed by three gunmen in their attack on the Bardo museum in the capital Tunis on Wednesday, for which Islamic State has claimed responsibility. The shootings happened just as the nearby Tunisian parliament was debating proposed new anti-terrorism legislation, and there is speculation that the assembly was the gunmen’s initial target. Islamist groups have blighted the small North African country’s fragile transition to democracy since the 2011 revolution that toppled the iron-fisted regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, mounting political assassinations and attacks on the military. But, as Mediapart’s Arab affairs correspondent Pierre Puchot reports, Islamist terror groups have been active in Tunisia for decades, during the dictatorial regimes of both Ben Ali and his predecessor Habib Bourgiba, and the challenge now for the fledgling democracy is to find effective means to combat them without returning to the liberticidal practices of the past.
The French victims were among a reported 20 foreign tourists and three Tunisians shot dead by gunmen who attacked the Bardo museum.
One of the victims of the kosher supermarket shootings during the Paris attacks in January was Yoav Hattab, a 21-year-old Jew from Tunisia. His family are part of a Jewish community whose roots in the North African country go back many centuries but which has seen its numbers fall dramatically over the last 50 years. The dead man's elder brother, Avishay Hattab, has spoken at length to Mediapart's Pierre Puchot about how the family learnt of Yoav's death, at their dismay at the lack of official Tunisian government recognition of his murder, and of the difficulties in belonging to one of the last Jewish communities in the Arab world. Meanwhile an association that supports local minorities talks about the need to combat the “hatred” aimed at Jews in Tunisia. But Avishay Hattab says he is “proud” of being Tunisian and insists he has no intention of leaving a country his family has lived in for countless generations.
The French interior ministry said that the 28-year-old Tunisian played 'a key role' in the recruitment of young jihadists in the Grenoble area.
Diplomat-turned-businessman Boris Boillon, who close to Nicolas Sarkozy, was reportedly stopped at Paris train station with 350,000 euros on him.
France has expelled a 77 year-old Tunisian imam accused of spreading anti-Semitic views and denigrating women at his Paris mosque.
French foreign minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has been forced to resign after a series of revelations over her close ties with the entourage of deposed Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. After a luxurious holiday in Tunisia during the popular uprising then sweeping the country, she later offered French security "know-how" to the desperate Ben Ali regime during its last days in power. But Alliot-Marie was far from alone in her disinterest of the dire human rights abuses exacted under Ben Ali's 23-year reign, as confirmed by US diplomatic cables revealed exclusively here. In this first report following Mediapart's newly-reached partnership with WikiLeaks, we detail how official French policy towards Tunis has for years placed bi-lateral security issues well above concerns for democracy.
French foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie has come under intense pressure to resign following further revelations about her New Year's holidays with her partner and family in strife-torn Tunisia. Contradicting her version hitherto of events, it now emerges that during the trip she held talks with now-deposed president and despot Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, while her parents signed a business deal with an entrepreneur close to the regime. Here, Mediapart compares the minister's public statements with the truth established so far, revealing how she has misled both the French public and parliament.
The fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak followed directly the overthrow in January of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The two strongmen had much in common, beginning with their secret police. Mediapart has obtained official documents seized during the strife in Tunisia which illustrate the extent of the Ben Ali regime's nationwide web of informers, ranging from taxi drivers to undercover agent 'activists'.
First there was the scandal of French foreign minister Michèle Alliot-Marie's holidays in strife-torn Tunisia, now comes that of Prime Minister François Fillon's sojourn in Egypt courtesy of President Hosni Mubarak. The revelations have stunned opinion in France and made headlines around the world, prompting President Nicolas Sarkozy to tell ministers they must holiday in France from now on. Marine Turchi reports on the parliamentary turbulence caused by the latest jet-set holiday disclosures.
A private jet used by French foreign affairs minister Michèle Alliot-Marie while holidaying in strife-torn Tunisia for the New Year belonged to a company run by the reviled brother-in-law of deposed Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Mediapart can reveal (along with the aircraft's intriguing flight log).
Two weeks ago Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled a popular revolution and rage that caught more than him and his cronies by surprise. For over the past decade, numerous international organisations and institutions regularly exhorted developing countries to follow Tunisia as a model of economic success and stability. Ludovic Lamant asks; how could the 'experts' have got it all so wrong?
In what has already been called the 'Jasmine Revolution', Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country Friday evening. The events on Friday were the culmination of three weeks of angry protests across the country against spiralling food prices, unemployment, corruption and human rights abuse. In the streets of Tunis, Mediapart's Thomas Cantaloube witnessed the last violent hours before Ben Ali was forced out after more than two decades of his iron rule.
Tunisia is witnessing the largest and most violent popular protest movement since President Ben Ali came to power 23 years ago. Thousands of Tunisian lawyers staged a national strike and demonstrations (photo) on January 6th, joining the revolts born from high youth unemployment, soaring inflation, and widespread corruption and human rights violations.